Entrusted with the task of supplying chlorinated water to the entire city, the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation has failed to ensure potable water on its own premises.
Not only several tubewells across the city are running without dozers (equipment used to chlorinate water), but the two that supply water to the MC offices and nearby areas are also not supplying chlorinated water posing a major health hazard to office employees as well as scores of people living in these areas.
Of the two tubewells on the MC Zone-A premises near Mata Rani Chowk, no dozer has been installed at the tubewell near union offices, while the other one has a dozer, which was not working on Tuesday.
Similar is the plight of the one at Giaspura, as the dozer installed there is not working. Sources in the MC said a number of old and worn out dozers were lying non-functional.
The MC has learnt no lessons from the diarrhoea and gastroenteritis outbreaks in the past which claimed many lives.
Of 950 tubewells in the city, dozers for chlorination of water (a process of adding chlorine to drinking water to disinfect it and kill germs) have only been installed at 400 tubewells.
The tubewells at New Vishnu Puri near Buddha Nullah, Focal Point, Old GT Road, outer areas and others also lack dozers.
Though civic body officials claimed that it was impossible to install dozers at some outdoor tubewells owing to lack of space, sources said dozers can be installed at 150 more tubewells.
District epidemiologist Dr Ramesh Kumar said, “If dozers are not available, it is the responsibility of the MC to ensure supply of chlorinated water to avoid any disease outbreak. Chlorination of water is recommended.”
Residents of Dhandari Khurd, Shimlapuri and some colonies on Tajpur Road have raised a concern on contaminated water being supplied to their areas. In past also, water samples of these areas had failed the tests multiple times.
A resident of Dhandari Khurd, Rajinder Sharma, said, “Water samples should be collected from these areas for testing. We generally get dirty water during monsoon. So, the civic body should ensure chlorination of water.”
Monitoring of chlorine level required
Meanwhile, former superintending engineer of Punjab Water Supply and Sanitation Department Jaswinder Singh said, “Chlorine is added to the water for destroying bacteria. Besides, it is important to ensure regular monitoring of chlorine concentration after dosing in piped distribution networks and at distant points.”
“Equipment is required to be adjusted as required and a record of chlorine used should be kept. Results of monitoring and records of adjustments and repairs in the equipment should also be maintained. The tubewell operators are completely ignorant about any such provisions. Neither the residual chlorine is ever checked at distant points nor any such record is maintained,” he added.
He said, “Water characteristics and, hence, the chlorine requirement may vary due to external influences (e.g., rainy season, etc.). It is therefore necessary to monitor the water quality at the points of consumption from time to time in cases where the chlorine dosage is fixed. The objective of disinfection via chlorination can only be obtained if the chlorine dosage is adjusted to the changed water characteristics.”