The reported lack of coordination between officials of the municipal council, irrigation & public health department and state electricity board has aggravated the drinking water crisis in and around the town as well as in 140 villages of Solan and Kasauli assembly segments. Potable water supply remained suspended in several localities of the town for the fourth consecutive day on Tuesday.
The unannounced suspension of supply, besides causing great hardship to the residents, especially women, the elderly and handicapped people has raised questions about the municipal council's functioning. The local administration, instead of making alternate arrangements for supplying drinking water through water tankers, has largely ignored the problem. This is despite the fact that Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh recently dedicated a multicrore rupee power substation at the Gaura pumping station to ensure uninterrupted power supply for smooth lifting of potable water to Solan town and adjoining areas as well as 140 villages in the Solan and Kasauli constituencies.
The worst affected areas are Salogra, Sunny Side, Kaleen, New Bus stand, ITI localities, Chambaghat, Kather and others areas where drinking water supply has not been provided for the fourth consecutive day.
Sources in the council said the trouble started when state electricity board officials failed to maintain the voltage level on Saturday and Sunday owing to bad weather conditions, which resulted in the water crisis in several parts of parts of the town. The problem was further compounded after the breakdown of water lifting pumps in Gaura and Dharon ki Dhar villages on Saturday due to the extreme cold. The irrigation & public health department authorities needed 11,000 volts power supply to run its water lifting pumps whereas the sudden supply of excessive power forced the authorities to suspend the water lifting operations for two days.
Criticising the council's authorities over their failure in tiding over the crisis, Solan BJP unit general secretary Shalinder Gupta said the repeated unannounced suspension of drinking water supply showed the present government was paying little attention towards the problem. “The government should order a probe into the matter and fix the responsibility of the officials concerned. The authorities, besides making alternate arrangements for supplying potable water, should inform the residents well in advance to avoid hardships as there are no natural sources of water in the town. We are getting adequate supply of water from irrigation & public health department officials but owing to some technical reasons, the council is unable to provide regular supply to the residents,” said the municipal council's executive officer, BR Negi.
He said that as against the total demand of around 1.8 million gallons per day, council received 700,000 gallons on Tuesday, while one million gallons on Monday.
Irrigation & public health department executive engineer Hemant Tanwar said department officials had suspended the water lifting operations owing to supply of excessive power. “Since excess voltage could damage the water lifting motors, the concerned officials choose to suspend the lifting operations,” he added.
Denying the voltage problem, executive engineer (electrical System) SK Sharma said since irrigation & public health department officials had not installed an automatic voltage control system at the pumping station, which probably led to the present crisis. “The board is providing uninterrupted water supply to the irrigation & public health department to ensure smooth lifting of water,” he added.