AVTAR SINGH, an employee of Haryana PWD department and a resident of Saketri village, was to hold his daughter’s wedding on September 12. Four days before the wedding, however, the venue had to be changed. Reason: the open ground of his village where the mandap was to be erected for the wedding was flooded with sewage water.
Surprised to see the flow of water in the area which was completely dry until 10 days earlier, Avtar Singh made frantic enquiries from people living around the ground. The answer he got: the pipe carrying sewage water into Sukhna choe had to be closed on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, and it had been diverted on to this open ground.
Avtar told Chandigarh Newsline, “It had been decided that the wedding would be held on this ground. Whenever there is a wedding in the village, it is held on this ground. A few days before the wedding when I had gone to see the arrangements, I could smell the stink and found it flooded with water. I was told that the sewage water has now been diverted from the main pipeline to this place as there were court directions that it shouldn’t flow into Sukhna Lake. Moreover, since it was constantly raining during those days, I realised that the situation will be all the more worse.”
He added, “I somehow managed to seek someone’s help in getting a bhawan near Mansa Devi road booked for the wedding. As the invitation card had specified this ground as the venue, so relatives and baraatis were informed on the phone that the venue has been changed.”
Residents of Saketri are angry with the Panchkula Municipal Corporation’s jugaad fix of diverting the sewage onto the ground, where many village functions are held aside from weddings. The open ground is situated 150 metres from the government school and children even use it sometimes to play cricket.
Baljeet Singh, a friend of Avtar Singh and another villager, said, “Can you hold your daughter’s wedding and make food arrangements at a place where bathroom water is flowing? In a hurry to avoid any action by the court, they have put all of us in trouble and diverted the water to this ground which was the only place for us villagers to hold events.”
Shamesher Singh, a BJP worker, said that on Saturday, he had complained about the same to BJP MLA Gian Chand Gupta as well who had paid a visit to the village for swachhta campaign on Saturday. “He told me that he will ensure some solution to this problem within 15 days,” Shamsher said. MLA Gupta said that after receiving this complaint, he asked the MC Commissioner who said that it was just storm water and a solution would soon be found.
“I was told that it is storm water and not the waste water. Moreover, we are finding a permanent solution to this problem. Under the AMRUT Scheme, we have got Rs 46 crore sanctioned for nine villages and Saketri village is our priority for swachhta. We will have a sewerage treatment plant for this village and all the sewerage pipelines will be laid,” Gupta said. Kuldeep Singh, another villager, maintained that the water on the ground was from residential toilets in the village, and said that for years they had been listening about a permanent solution to the sewage problem of the village.
“We heard that there will be a permanent solution in March this year. But it is September now and nothing has been done,” Kuldeep Singh said. He said that his 12-year-old son has now stopped going there. “I don’t want my son to catch dengue or develop any allergies, so I have told him not to play there,” he said.