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NINE DAYS have gone since six-year-old Sameer Ahmed was washed away in a nullah at Indira Colony, but the authorities have not learnt any lesson and chances of a repeat of such incidents haunt the area. Though local authorities claimed that the work on fencing of the nullah to prevent people from entering it has begun, it has been progressing at a snail’s pace. They admitted that there was no immediate solution to this problem in view of the upcoming monsoon apart from issuing verbal and written advisories to local residents. On June 19, Sameer Ahmed has washed away in the nullah, overflowing due to heavy rain, and his body was recovered at Dera Bassi on June 20.
Local councillor Kanta Devi said, “As far as fencing is concerned, the administration has been facing major problems because of the illegal houses that have come up on one side of the nullah. Though installation work of small pillars has started a month back, it will take the time to complete. The administration has announced that it would build houses for the residents of Indira Colony, Panchkula, but that will take years.”
Mohammad Shakir, a relative of Ahmed, said although the tehsildar had assured them of completing fencing within three days, nothing happened. However, the situation at Kharak Mangoli village near river Ghaggar is also not much different from Indira Colony. Residents of Kharak Mangoli claimed that rainwater enters their houses every monsoon in the absence of a proper drainage system. “The drain is choked for the past 40 years. Before the election, every party promises a proper drainage system to get votes, but, nothing happens in the end,” rued Rajendra Pandey, a resident of Kharak Mangoli. “The drainage issue is severe and the authorities must wake up to the miserable situation since the overflowing water from the drain during monsoon enters the houses, which is not only a matter of hygiene but health issues,” added Reshma, a resident.
Not only has the village been facing drainage issues but also acute water shortage for the past 15 years since they have never been given water connections. The few pipelines for this purpose have been provided by the public health department but they cater to just 25 per cent of the village. The remaining 75 per cent depends on a single water tanker sent by HUDA, whenever available. With population increasing in the village, it is becoming extremely difficult to survive without water connection due to which frequent fights take place.
Anil Kumar, who works at the district courts in Panchkula, said, “The issue of overflowing drain water entering the houses had been brought up at the grievances meeting but no action has been taken yet. The condition of the village is not favourable to survive since the residents don’t have access to the most basic necessity which is water.” Efforts were made to contact area councillor Vinod Aggarwal but in vain. Also, the residents added that theft and burglaries have soared as nobody pays attention to the village. Concern over naked wires, missing boxes As pre-monsoon showers begin, naked electric wires and missing wire boxes remain a serious concern in Panchkula and neighbouring areas, including Manimajra. At the dividing road of Sector 11 and Sector 14, 17-year-old Deepak Kumar was electrocuted in Panchkula on June 17. At Manimajra, a 17-year-old was electrocuted near the bus stand on June 22.