Updated: August 11, 2021 11:49:23 am
It has been nine months since the residents of Sector 20 first raised a complaint of severe health hazard due to the stagnant water becoming a breeding ground for malaria and dengue mosquitoes in the vicinity of Suncity Parikrama. Seeing no respite as Haryana Shahari Vikas Pradhikaran (HSVP) and MC Panchkula shifted the blame from one person to the other, the residents Tuesday pumped out several hundred litres of stagnant water for almost five hours by themselves.
Thousands of residents of the sector currently remain subjected to the issues arising due to the stagnation of water in the mango orchard which remains landlocked between various prominent societies and structures of Sector 20, including the Suncity Parikrama society on one side, Chinmay Mission on the second, Solitaire school on the third and several group housing societies on the fourth.
In the past almost a year, residents complain, several written as well as oral complaints have been lodged with senior authorities of the district including HSVP, MC Panchkula as well as to CMO Panchkula- all of which have been received but no action on them has been taken.
While the MC has denied to work on their problem claiming that the land belongs to HSVP, the last straw for the residents was when on Monday, the HSVP too denied and transferred the responsibility to MC Panchkula. “In response to an official grievance lodged months back, the HSVP Monday closed the complaint stating that the ‘matter relates to MC Panchkula’. With rising troubles and no solution from authorities in view, we decided on getting the water pumped out ourselves,” said Akhil Goel, resident of sector 20, Suncity Prarikrama society.
While the water pumped for a few hours, it quickly started stagnating on the roads as the blocked drains spewed water backwards. “It was a mess. We had put in the pipe to take out water from orchard and into the drains. But the drains must have been blocked and they started throwing the water backwards. We had to stop midway,” he added.
This piece of land in the centre of the sector, is also a mango orchard, but its preservation is far from the purview of authorities.
“It is not like the land is barren. The HSVP earns lakhs from it as it gives out the mangoes that grow there to a contractor. And still when it comes to taking care of it, they back off,” added Akhil.
As per local residents, the issue of water stagnation in the orchard is not one which comes out only amid monsoons but persists throughout the year. “There is sewage water always leaking into the area. The area is always moist and has pockets of stagnant water. Only in monsoons, it fills up to the brink,” said Anuj Aggarwal, a resident of the area.
“A very strong stench emanates from this vacant plot probably because of stagnant rain water and other waste material thrown/lying therein. Besides the foul smell the stagnant water may also breed mosquito and other vectors larvae,” reads a representation which had been signed by almost 50 members of the society and submitted to Chief Administrator HSVP.
Even though the HSVP (Enforcement Officer, office of Chief Administrator) had directed HSVP to take action and submit action report in a time-bound manner, nothing happened.
The residents had even planted 50-60 mango saplings in the orchard prior to monsoon this year in an attempt to “save the area from losing more soil, stop encroachments and irregulated tree axing while also providing safe haven to the peacocks and other bird species that reside in the orchard,” said Anuj.
HSVP Executive Engineer Amit Rathee said, “The orchard falls under a low-lying area and thus gets filled with storm water each monsoon. While the land belongs to HSVP, the tasks relating to storm water fall under MC’s purview. They should be the ones pumping the water.”
Municipal Corporation Commissioner Dharamvir Singh said, “While the particular matter has not personally come to me, if the land falls under the jurisdiction of HSVP and it is them who reap the benefits of the orchard, they should be the ones responsible for it. But keeping in view the public health of citizens, I will definitely look into the matter at the earliest and get water pumped out from the area.”
This is not the first feat where HSVP and MC in Panchkula have shifted responsibilities onto each other. With an overlap in areas and tasks between the two, residents of the city have often found themselves in a soup as they shuttle from one office to the other for most basic civic amenities.
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