Gurdeep Singh Mann
Tribune News Service
Bathinda, April 7
Another likely closure of the Sirhind canal in Bathinda for 21 days is likely to deepen the water crisis in the city.
The water flow in the canal is to be blocked in view of the construction of a footover bridge for Uriya Colony situated adjacent to the Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant (GNDTP). The flow of water in the Bathinda branch of Sirhind Canal will be closed for a third time in the last few months following the construction of a footover bridge.
Since people in Uriya Colony used to reach their locality using the railway line along the canal in the past, it was decided by the authorities to construct a foot overbridge. Though the entire land—of the colony—belongs to the Powercom, it has gradually been encroached upon by the poor who have built a cluster of hutments with the passage of time in the last few years. Viewing the vote bank, local leaders have offered to build a bridge for the poor, wjho have a vote bank of more than 500. Earlier, electricity poles were installed in the colony by the local influential political leaders.
The flow of water below the under construction bridge is to be closed for laying of the overpass. The water storage capacity in the tanks of water works, however, is more than just sufficient. Storing raw water for 21 days is once again going to be tough for the city residents and a daunting task for the authorities.
The present 33 lakh to 35 lakh gallons of water is supplied to the areas linked with the water works situated on Bhagu Road. The total storage capacity for raw water in the tanks is 5.43 crore gallons. Three pumps of 120, 40 and 15 Horse Power (HP) are installed to pump out the water in these tanks.
The department’s officials said no accurate survey has been conducted in the recent past to ascertain the actual demand for water, a rough estimate reveals the areas, where water is supplied through Bhagu Road water works, requires at least 45 lakh gallon of water instead of the present 35 lakh gallon. Also, the storage capacity should be 8.40 crore gallon water instead of the 5.43 crore.
“The entire system is crippled by linking new areas like the Guru Ki Nagri, Dhobiana Basti, Ajit Road and few other areas under political pressure,” said a senior official, pleading anonymity.
He said the actual demand for potable water is never calculated and as per an old rough estimate, the population accommodated through the water works of the Bhagu Road is 44,700.
As per the official calculations, one person must be offered at least 135 litres per day but in view of the lack of actual population, the survey is not conducted by the department.
Surprisingly, the process of allotting tender for augmenting the water capacity of foursome water tanks by joining them after excavating the extra earth is gathering dust for the last three years. “Moreover, the recently built water filter project constructed at a cost of nearly Rs 5 crore too is lying defunct,” the officials said. They added that despite spending the huge amount the project is yet to be made functional as the pipes which are suppose to connect the newly built tank is yet to be laid.
“Even if we begin the process of laying the connecting pipes today, it will take at least six months as same would be brought from Kolkata,” said another functionary.
“We are yet to announce the exact date of the closure of the canal, it is likely to start between April 12 to April 16,” said XEN, Bathinda, Irrigation Division, Upkaran Singh.
He said the footbridge connecting Uriya Colony is to be constructed at a cost of Rs 20 lakh and its estimated period of completion of work is nearly a month.
The XEN said the water received in the Bathinda branch is released from Doraha. The Sirhind canal from Bhakra is bifurcated into five branches, including Bathinda, Abohar, Sidhwan, Patiala and Kotla.
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