Although the Municipal Corporation is still finding out the exact reason for water contamination in Parkash Nagar area which led to the illness of 121 patients apart from four deaths, lack of thorough cleanliness of manholes in the whole city is an important reason for the repeated outbreaks in one or the other colony, according to experts.
Due to repeated deaths of sewer men while cleaning the manholes, a fear psychosis has been created among workers. About six months back, the MC authorities had told them to sign an undertaking that in case anything happens to them while cleaning manholes, they themselves will be responsible for that. This had a side effect as sewer men have stopped going inside manholes. As a result, now superficial cleaning is being done as the MC has not yet equipped itself well to clean the manholes in the city mechanically.
Jaswinder Singh Bhola, councillor of ward number 60, said, “This is an important reason as now sewer men never go inside and machines are not enough to clean manholes in each and every ward. So apart from old leaking pipes or illegal connections, this is again one important factor which needs to be dealt with seriously. Either the MC officers should get the manholes cleaned under their supervision after making sewer men wear masks and jackets or they should deploy enough machines in the city.”
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The situation is so bad that residents of Parkash Nagar are happy that rainfall has been scanty this season. Otherwise, they say, the trouble would have been much more.
Lack of cleanliness of sewer lines has been highlighted by all party councillors in the general house meeting a number of times. Sources said that lack of funds was also an important reason for superficial cleaning.
Zonal commissioner Manjit Singh admitted that now sewer men did not enter the manholes the way they used to do earlier. However, he maintained that their teams were getting cleanliness done through machines and even in future as well cleanliness drives would continue.