Despite ban, no check on new submersible pumps

Despite ban, no check on new submersible pumps

A submersible pump being installed at a building site in violation of the ban orders, in Ludhiana. Tribune photo

Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, July 12

The role of the operations and maintenance (O&M) branch of the Municipal Corporation, entrusted with the task of providing and maintaining water supply and sewerage in the city, has come under a cloud with reports that despite a blanket ban by the Central Ground Water Board, the National Green Tribune (NGT) and the district authorities (under CrPC 144) on installation of new submersible pumps, these were coming up all across the city.

In two similar complaints to the NGT and the Punjab State Human Rights Commission, a city-based social activist, Gajjan Singh Jassal, has alleged that at least 25 submersible pumps were being sunk in areas across the city and repeated complaints lodged with the field staff and supervisory officials of the O&M branch have failed to evoke any action.

Jassal said he had provided photographic evidence that new submersible pumps were being installed in all four zones (A, B, C and D) of the city with maximum violation taking place in areas that fall in Zone C (20 pumps). “However, the supervisory officials apparently continue to sit over my complaints and the violators are having a free run, causing irreparable damage to water table,” he asserted.

According to the complainant, a nexus of boring companies, touts and certain MC officials was operating in the city with all of them having their fingers in the pie. While genuine complaints about violations were persistently ignored, the instances brought to the notice of the field staff and officials by the touts were used to strike deals with the violators and the racket continued keeping all the collaborators happy, said the complainant.

Jassal said a few lower-rung officials had dared to put pressure on those exposing such blatant violations to withdraw their complaints and there had also been instances when senior officials had approved installation of new submersible pumps by circumventing the rules and directions of the CGWB and the district authorities.

He has demanded that responsibility of the MC staff and their supervisory officials be fixed for allowing installation of submersible pumps in the city and strict action, as per law, be taken against all violations in this regard.

Copies of the complaints have also been sent to the Punjab Chief Minister, Department of Local Government, Director of Local Bodies, and the Chief Vigilance Officer of Local Government.

Complainant blames officials

Jassal said a few lower-rung officials had dared to put pressure on those exposing such blatant violations to withdraw their complaints and there had also been instances when senior officials had approved installation of new submersible pumps by circumventing the rules and directions of the CGWB and the district authorities.