Water problem continued to persist in certain sectors of Chandigarh on Monday as well. But, supply was back to normal in the evening. Residents of sectors 22, 23 and the southern belt, 39, 40, 41, 42, Buterla village, Attawa, 43, 44, 47, 48 to 51 faced problems of low pressure throughout the day though. A pipeline repair near Pakki Rurki, Mankheri and the Sector 39 waterworks left the city high and dry for the last three days.
Executive engineer of the Municipal Corporation, Harish Saini, said since summer was approaching, repairs have to be carried out frequently because of which shutdown for a few hours have to be observed. “It is just that no serious shortage occurs during summer,” he said. The officials added that the machinery at the Kajauli waterworks was old and required heavy maintenance. The frequent breakdowns of the pipelines have occurred despite the fact that the Chandigarh MC pays Rs 1.6 crore to the public health department of the Punjab government as maintenance charges besides Rs 27 crore needed for electricity used to pump water to the city.
Pradeep Chhabra, a resident of Sector 22, said, “In the evening as well, the pressure was low. I don’t understand that this situation is there even when summer has not arrived. What will happen when the summer is at its peak.” Chhabra also said that he got calls from Sector 23 as well where residents told him that there wasn’t any water the whole day.
Federation of Sectors Welfare Association of Chandigarh, Baljinder Singh Bittu, said, “Things get all the more difficult during the working days. These people are unable to manage a small repair in the pipeline. There is no proper back-up either at Kajauli which feeds the city.”
In 2016, the entire system at Kajauli had crashed leaving the city high and dry. The delivery header of the Kajauli waterworks, Phases I and II, maintained by the Punjab Water Supply and Sanitation Division, burst, following which water flooded the two pump houses that have machinery of phases I, II, III and IV. Due to this, all the motors and panels installed got submerged in the water and all the eight motors at the pump houses stopped functioning, leaving the city reeling under acute scarcity of water.
Following frequent breakdowns, former mayor Arun Sood had spoken to the Punjab government, stating that since the department concerned was not maintaining the pipelines, could the Chandigarh MC take over the maintenance of the pipelines. But, nothing was done after that.