Silt in rivers hit drinking water supply in Solan, adjacent villages
Blame it on the half-hearted approach of the officials concerned or apathetic attitude of the state government, the frequent suspension of water lifting operations by the authorities has deepened the potable water crisis in and around the town for the past over 20 days.
Despite the water lifting operations at Gaura and Ashwani river pumping stations going inoperative five times in the past month, the district administration has failed to streamline coordination between the irrigation and public health (IPH) department and the local municipal council (MC).
As a result, a recent flash flood in Ashwani river caused heavy damage to the water lifting pumps and related machinery at the Ashwani River pumping station and increased silt level in Giri River, forcing the authorities to yet again suspend the lifting of water and leaving residents in several parts of the town and its adjoining areas without hapless.
Besides, the shortage of potash alum chemical, used to separate mud particles in water, and transfer of the lone MC engineer to Parwanoo, have further compounded the problem.
The ambitious project was commissioned to supply regular drinking water to the residents of the town and its adjacent localities, parts of Kasauli assembly segment and 131 villages of the area, till 2036.
MC executive officer BR Negi said, "Since the IPH department is not providing adequate supply of water, we are finding it difficult to tide over the crisis. Against the daily requirement of 18 lakh gallons of water, the council is receiving only around 8 lakh gallons per day."
Sources in the IPH department said despite repeated reminders, authorities concerned did not bother to take needed measures to prevent such problems, adding that the department officials did not even inform the local administration and public about suspension of lifting operation leaving residents high and dry.
Sources in the MC said owing to inadequate lifting of water, drinking water was being supplied in a gap of four to five days instead of the routine alternate day for the past 20 days.
When contacted, IPH executive engineer Hemant Tanwar said the problem started only after level of mud particles in Giri and Ashwani rivers went beyond acceptable limit owing to flash floods.
Holding social justice and empowerment minister DR Shandil responsible for the crisis, BJP spokesman Shailender Gupta said that government should fix the responsibility of officials concerned and the minister should seek an unconditional apology from the public. "Since Shandil as MLA of Solan segment had miserably failed to address the areas' problem, he should resign from his post.
The department must arrange the potash alum chemical to purify the water instead of beating the drum of increase of mud particles in water," Gupta added.