Perturbed over contaminated water supply, Chheharta residents decide against voting : The Tribune India

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Perturbed over contaminated water supply, Chheharta residents decide against voting

Perturbed over contaminated water supply, Chheharta residents decide against voting

Women show contaminated water in Chheharta in Amritsar. Photo: Sunil Kumar



Tribune News Service

PK Jaiswar

Amritsar, May 23

Life on the busy Chheharta Bazaar leading to historic Chheharta Sahib Gurdwara and Guru Ki Wadali village that boasts of its connection with the sixth Sikh Master Guru Hargobind goes on as per routine.

Nevertheless as one turns to the lanes and bylanes from the bazaar, one can sense an uneasy quietness. On face of it, Kartar Nagar locality on the road looks like a posh area, but as you try to talk to the residents, their anguish against the political leaders, district and civic authorities, is writ large on their faces.

Sewer water stagnant on the road. Photo: Sunil Kumar

The contaminated water supply in Chheharta area falling under Amritsar West assembly constituency has left its inhabitants dejected.

For the past couple of years, they had been struggling to get the basic need of safe drinking water supply fulfilled. The residents had held a number of demonstrations against the district and civic authorities in this connection but their efforts failed to bear fruit. Disappointed over the false assurances by political leaders of different parties, they have decided not to cast their vote during the upcoming parliamentary polls. Ironically, the constituency had witnessed low voter turnout during previous Lok Sabha and assembly polls as compared to other assembly constituencies here.

A woman who suffers from liver disease in Chheharta in Amritsar. Photo: Sunil Kumar

“The candidates of various political parties and their workers on the ground are giving a miss to our area as they are aware that we would question them about our problem. They know they would face public ire,” said Manpreet Kaur, a resident of Gali number 5 of Kartar Nagar area.

Seeing the media, residents immediately gathered outside and raised their concerns. “Not only are we paying extra for procuring RO water coolers, but also paying to the doctors due to ailments arising from drinking contaminated water supply,” said Parminder Kaur, another resident. When water supply is restored daily in taps in the morning, it smells like sewage water, she added. “We cannot even use it for cleaning purposes, let alone bathing in it,” she pointed out. Some of them said they were bringing water from the households, with submersible pumps, for daily use and some were bringing it from the local gurdwara.

Tarsem Lal Saini, a resident of Shori Nagar, who has been living here for the last two decades, says that the civic conditions in the West constituency, especially Chheharta, have never improved.

“This area has seen political representation from the Congress and AAP over the years. But nothing has changed. No government has done enough to improve sanitation, hygiene, roads and drinking water facilities. The supply of contaminated water is a problem being faced in posh gated colonies as well in the area. A majority of new colonies developed in recent years do not have supply of water by MC. Several complaints have been made, yet they fall on deaf ear.”

Among other areas affected are Jagdish Niwas, Pencha wala, Bhalla Colony, Japani Mill Colony, Mohalla Baltian, Gobind Singh Nagar etc

Kanwaljit Singh, president of Chheharta Sangharsh Committee, said there are 11 municipal wards that fall in Chheharta, having a population of over 1.5 lakh. “We are upset with the attitude of politicians and authorities who became deaf and turned a blind eye towards our genuine problem,” he rued.

“We had submitted a memorandum to MP Gurjit Singh Aujla, Amritsar West MLA Jasbir Singh Sandhu from AAP, Deputy Commissioners and Municipal Commissioners, but they were of little use,” he said.

The actual reason is that the sewage treatment plant in Khaparkhedi has a water capacity of 95 MLD but it is receiving 135 MLD from the city. This means people have taken illegal water connections and are wasting water day and night, thereby choking the sewer lines, resulting in the contamination of water supply.

Kanwaljit Singh said that the Punjab government released Rs 1.65 crore for cleaning of sewerage pipelines in August last year.

About The Author

The Tribune News Service brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune News Service for a wide-ranging coverage of events as they unfold, with perspective and clarity.

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