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Over 280 illegal water connections snapped in Palwal in four weeks

Theft from 90-km Ranney well project affecting supply in villages at its tailend

Over 280 illegal water connections snapped in Palwal in four weeks

officials of the Public Health and Engineering Department cut an illegal water connection in Palwal district. Tribune Photo



Tribune News Service

Bijendra Ahlawat

Palwal, May 4

The Public Health and Engineering Department (PHED) has disconnected 284 illegal water connections from the main supply line of drinking water in the past four weeks.

The department has issued a warning against stealing water. Sources in the district administration revealed that illegal connections removed by the department concerned were located in 15 to 20 villages that come under the jurisdiction of the Hathin subdivision of the district. Officials carried out the drive along with the police force.

It is claimed that hundreds of illegal connections had come up that were linked to the main supply line of drinking water from the Ranney well project in the Yamuna river. Meanwhile, the department was facing a shortage of water in villages located at the tailend of the 90-km network.

The water supply network starts from Rahimpur village, which is located at the bank of the Yamuna river, it is spread up to Sanghel village in the neighbouring Nuh district. The water projects cover a total of 148 villages of Palwal and Nuh districts, according to the officials.

While the main Ranney well supply line was made functional for the first time in 2008-09, the second project was inaugurated in 2021-22 by the PHED to provide potable drinking water in about 84 villages of the region.

According to the Gazette notification issued by the enforcement section of the Home Department of the state government, stealing power and canal water used for irrigation are punishable offences.

However, the notification doesn’t mention the theft of drinking water and provisions for consequent action. Thus, no action is taken against offenders due to the lack of clarity regarding the action or penalty to be imposed against the theft of drinking water. This has led to a sharp rise in cases of pilferage of drinking water, according to the department sources.

“As there is no clear direction for taking legal action, the offenders not only escape penalties, but also get encouraged to steal water through illegal connections to the pipeline,” said an official on condition of anonymity.

The pilferage results in wastage of drinking water as no taps are used in such connections. It also affects the supply of water in many villages, especially those located at tail end. It is reported that the department is left with no option than to get the line repaired and disconnect illegal connections.

Deepender Raj, Executive Engineer, PHED here, said the drive to keep a check on illegal connections was underway to ensure a proper supply of potable water to all the villages in the region.

Lack of clarity on legal action

  • According to the Gazette notification issued by the enforcement section of the Home Department of the state government, stealing power and canal water used for irrigation are punishable offences.
  • But the notification does not mention the theft of drinking water and provisions for consequent action. Thus, no action is taken against offenders due to the lack of clarity.
  • “As there is no clear direction for taking legal action, the offenders not only escape penalties, but also get encouraged to steal water through illegal connections to the pipeline,” said an official on condition of anonymity.

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