Residents of Sangrur are having a free run of water in their dwellings units with the municipal council conveniently looking the other way.
An investigation by HT has revealed that out of 17,000-odd dwelling units, metered water supply is available in only 14,700. And of these, majority of the meters are dysfunctional. Around 2,300 dwelling units are without water meters. These units have gone in for either 'illegal' connections or have installed 'submersible pumps' to meet their water requirements.
Consequently, the ground water table has gone pretty low: 550 ft deep. BJP state secretary, Jatinder Kalra, confirmed this and said, due to submersible pumps installed by the people, the water table was certainly getting lowered. He also admitted that "Wastage of water is on the rise and there is immediate need to spread awareness among residents to conserve and save water". It was observed that maximum wastage of water was in slum areas.
For reasons best known to the council, when it comes to user-charges, the council prefers to charge 'flat rate': Rs 74 per month from domestic consumers and Rs 185 from commercial consumers rather than charging for actual consumption. No official of the council was willing to go on record as to say if this was due to shortage of meter readers or council's convenience.
Council president, Ripudaman Singh Dhillon, when contacted said a policy was being prepared to check unauthorised water connections, replace defective water meters and install new water meters, where none exist at present. Sounding evasive on several issues, Dhillon said notices would be issued to all defaulters and also to those who had tampered with the water main line to draw water in an unauthorised manner.
There are 22 tube wells in the city to meet the water demand. At any given point of time, one or two remain non-functional. Sangrur depends upon tube wells only to meet its water requirements. Council sources said, "Council to charge according to actual usage from the metered supply and cover the remaining parts of the city by installing water meters and our revenue would go up and that money could be used for carrying further repair and maintenance works."
Of late, new colonies have been carved out on the periphery of the city and lot of construction has taken place. The council does not seem to have any blueprint for providing civic amenities in such locations at present.
Kalra pointed out that because of laziness of the council even due charges were not being collected from the people. Dhillon, however, said that council was in the process of streamlining the water supply system and recovering dues from consumers and taking action against illegal connections.
The city also has 25 public water taps installed at various points for the convenience of the people.
Kalra revealed that there were reports of broken sewerage lines in certain localities and this got mixed with drinking water. There have been complaints of resident s getting contaminated water in Sunam and Nabha gate localities.
Thus, despite illegal and unauthorised water connections, leakage and loss of revenue, the people by and large seemed to be satisfied with water supply with adequate pressure.
Water supply timings
Morning 4 am to 10 am
Afternoon 12pm to 2 pm
Evening 4 pm to 10 pm