A drain conceptualised and constructed to tackle the problem of waterlogging in Muktsar, the home district of Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, is causing havoc with soil, groundwater and health of inhabitants of the villages situated along the drain in Fazilka district.
“Untreated sewage water from areas of various municipal councils is being thrown into Abul Khurana and Asspal drains, whose water further flows into a drain, which carries water to Pakistan,” said Boota Singh, who owns 50-acre land at Odian, one of the affected villages, situated along the drain.
Following the flow of untreated sewage flowing into the non-concrete drain, it has become a stinking zone for the adjoining areas during the past two years, he rued.
“Untreated water had not only polluted all the bore wells, but also hand pumps all along the drain. While the worst-affected villages include Mohar Jamsher, Mohar Kheewa, Mauzam, Kotha, Salemshah, Alamshah, Awa, Karnikhera, Kerian and Odian and many more up to Abohar, a subdivision of Fazilka district,” said Pargat Singh of Kotha village, tiling 57 acre land.
“Water in hand pumps had turned green and stinky and various test reports of water have proved that it has not only polluted the soil of more than three dozen villages, resulting in drastic fall in the crop yields, but also adversely affected the health of villagers. It has also led to increase water-borne diseases. It is a clear-cut case of man-made disaster causing socio-economic crisis,” he lamented.
“It’s our basic right to have clean water, soil and air, but the same is being denied following apathetic attitude of the authorities. It’s high time that no untreated waste is thrown into the drain and water does not remain stagnant due to faulty design or silt deposits,” demanded Sulkhan Singh, another farmer.