The tardy pace of work on a watercourse in Kalka has set alarm bells ringing among residents who fear that the accumulated water may cause a spread of vector-borne diseases in the area.
According to residents, the watercourse is being constructed in Kalka town to channel out rain as well as waste water from households. Locals said that the contractor had left many parts of the constructed watercourse uncovered, resulting in the breeding of mosquitoes.
“We have been complaining to the civic body officials about this. But it has fallen on deaf ears so far. The district administration is not taking the present increase in dengue cases in the area seriously. The civic body officials keep advising us to ensure cleanliness around our houses and to make sure that water doesn’t accumulate anywhere. But what about the watercourse that runs through the middle of the city and residential areas,” Sudhir Kumar, a local resident, said.
A second local of the area added that at many uncovered portions of the watercourse, rainwater had accumulated. ”
“Kalka is a small, congested town. Stranded water in the middle of a city is anyway an eyesore. Vector-borne diseases spread in the area like wildfire. The contractor should make effort to cover the open portions of the watercourse,” the second resident said, on condition of anonymity.
The watercourse, as per officials, is being constructed in a phased manner. In the first phase, the watercourse is being constructed from near the Housing Board Colony to a river bridge. In the second phase, the watercourse will be constructed from Kalka main market to the Housing Board Colony. The water channel will finally be merged into a seasonal river near the railway crossing between Kalka and Pinjore.
Contacted, Kalka Municipal Council president, Krishan Lal Lamba, said, “I agree that the work for construction of the watercourse for channeling out rain and waste water in Kalka is progressing at a slow pace. I have raised the matter with the area’s Sub-Divisional Officer (SDO) of Public Work Department (PWD). Besides that, I have also taken up this issue with senior administrative officers. I do understand that the people have been facing a lot of inconvenience because of the watercourse work. The digged and unfilled earth is also causing hardships to the general public. I will soon follow-up on the matter with concerned authorities.”
Congress MLA from the Kalka constituency, Pradeep Chaudhary, said, “I have been complaining to officials, including the area SDM, about the slow pace of work on the watercourse project. The watercourse is being constructed wrong and will not serve any purpose. The uncovered portions of the watercourse is an area of major concern. I will take this matter up with Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar.”
More than 600 dengue cases have been reported in Panchkula this year so far, with around 60 per cent of the cases coming from Kalka and Pinjore. The two towns have witnessed several people succumbing to the disease as well.
Earlier, the increasing cases of mystery fever spreading in the area had led Panchkula administration officials to rope in experts from PGI. The PGI team, after collecting samples from the area, later determined strains of dengue to be the cause behind the mystery fever that has so far claimed the lives of 13 people.