Thursday, May 29, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Half of holy city sans potable water
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 28
The development plan, prepared by the local Municipal Corporation shows that 80 per cent of the city, visited by VVIPs, is still without storm water disposal system while the walled city is totally devoid of it.

“As the old city topography is saucer shaped even mild showers flood the area”.

Mentioning poor drinking water facilities in the holy city, the development plan shows, “almost 40 per cent of the population does not have sewage system in outer abadies, slum areas while water supply is not available to 35 per cent population”.

The development plan was prepared by outgoing commissioner Jasbir Singh Bir and Mr Sunil Datti, Mayor Municipal Corporation.

What is worse, open nullahs which existed for storm water drainage now have been encroached on by the residents on both sides and several slum colonies have come up on the banks of these nullahs which dump all garbage into open channels thus obstructing the flow of storm water. These open nullahs give out foul smell during rainy season.

Pointing about bad condition of roads, maintained by the PWD, the development plan reads “due to absence of funds with the department, these roads remained neglected for the past many years. These bring a bad name to the corporation and also gives bad impression about the city at the entry points. Moreover many slum areas have come up just on the roadside, giving dirty look right at the entrance”.

In his note, Mr Bir stated that, “taking a serious note of the deteriorating service standard and public demand, the Municipal Corporation decided to prepare an action plan and approach the government for financial help so that public can be given proper services”. The action plan includes the improvement of traffic and transport facilities, water supply, sewerage and storm water drainage, improvement of slum areas and beautification of parks, open spaces and entry points. In addition, it has also been decided to include an elevated road from GT Road to the Golden Temple along with a central parking, so that national and international traffic coming to this place of pilgrimage is provided with proper approach and parking. Further to reduce congestion in markets and commercial areas a number of parking places has been included in the action plan. Being a historical city it is also proposed to develop Ram Bagh garden and other open spaces.

For the improvement and augmentation of the existing water supply, the development plan of Amritsar city proposes to spend Rs 392 crore to cover all areas. At present only 65 per cent of the population gets water from the existing system but water does not reach first floors. The old city is covered under the water supply system, but most of the villages and outer colonies are without piped water supply.

The plan has proposed Rs 5096 lakh for laying missing/left-out lines, machinery for the upgradation of the sewerage and extension of sewerage to cover 85 per cent population. For the augmentation of existing disposal plants, Rs 7.42 crore is required. Provision for toilets and public amenities, Rs 4 crore would be arranged for the improvement of slum areas, Rs 5.40 crore would be earmarked, for the replacement of existing sanitation vehicles Rs 1.4 crore would be earmarked.

However, Rs 393 crore would be spent on the installation of three waste treatment plants at Fatehpur, Ram Tirath and Guman Pur.


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