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Preparations to restore crippled drainage yet to see light of day

Preparations to restore crippled drainage yet to see light of day

Sewer water accumulates at Hirapur village in Jalandhar. Tribune Photo

Ajay Joshi
Tribune News Service
Jalandhar, July 4

Though the monsoon is round the corner, the preparations to restore the crippled drainage, sewage pipes and nullahs are yet to see the light of day in most of the villages in the district. The unavailability of proper drainage system has always been one of the core issues of villagers in the panchayat, zila parishad and state Assembly elections, but the development works take a back seat immediately after any candidate wins the elections.

Overflowing drainage pipes and sewers dug-out right in front of the houses in the villages not only raise a stink but have also become the breeding ground for mosquitoes, causing malaria and chikungunya.

The locals said even after building pucca houses, the only thing that irks them was the unavailability of proper drainage system.

Ravi Kumar, who had shifted to Lidhran village a few years back said they themselves had to drain out filthy water from their houses. “My neighbours use buckets to drain out dirty water. We then dispose it of in an empty field (chappar),” added Ravi.

Reportedly, every year, a grant of over Rs 60 crore is provided under various schemes for the development of drainage systems in the villages, but to no avail. Last year it was Rs 63.03 crore and this year the grant issued is over Rs 90 crore, stated District Development Programme Officer (DDPO) Iqbaljit Singh. However, the funds which were meant to improve residents’ lives could not serve its purpose. It seems that the multi-core project of desilting the sewer lines may not be completed before the monsoons, this year too, rued residents.

The DDPO further mentioned that the department was aware of the adequate drainage systems in the villages and received several complaints from sarpanches every now and then. “The funds have now been merged into the Rural Development Fund (RDF) and we have around Rs 99 crore grant which would be utilised shortly after the proposal would be passed through the administration,” added DDPO.

Moreover, as per the sources, the department has a sum of around Rs 136 crore, collected through panchayat funds and many other avenues.

The fund for development work is generated on the basis of population of a village, ie, Rs 665 per person.

The funds are further distributed among the Block Development Program Officers (BDPOs) of the district, who further disseminate the funds among the sarpanches of their blocks.

However, few of the sarpanches claimed that they had not received the funds yet and the residents have been suffering.

Yashpal, sarpanch of Nahal village, located in the Jalandhar West constituency, said, neither he was contacted by the area BDPO nor he received any grant for the construction of sewerage and drainages. In the absence of funds, Mangal Singh, Sarpanch, Village Sangal Sohal said, he repaired the drainage pipes in his villages after utilising NRI funds of his village.

Jasvir Kaur, Sarpanch, said Hirapur village said even though they don’t face much sewage issues throughout the year but when it rains the sewage water dumped in the chappars or nullahs enters into the streets and even the houses of the villages.

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