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Friday, July 10, 2020

With civic officials busy battling Covid, Panchkula unprepared for early monsoon

The pandemic, which began in the city in end-March and demanded all attention of the authorities, has severely affected the well-kept look of the city.

Written by Pallavi Singhal | Panchkula | Published: June 23, 2020 10:07:42 am
With civic officials busy battling Covid, P’kula unprepared for early monsoon The pandemic, which began in the city in end-March and demanded all attention of the authorities, has severely affected the well-kept look of the city. Express photo: Jaipal Singh.

An early monsoon and a raging pandemic have done Panchkula no good as depleting funds mar the municipal corporation while the city struggles with an unruly growth of weeds, tall bushes on sidewalks and empty residential plots along with a severe lack of mosquito control activities.

The pandemic, which began in the city in end-March and demanded all attention of the authorities, has severely affected the well-kept look of the city. Even the newly constructed roundabouts and bicycle sharing systems have not been spared as expensive bushes and carpet grass planted on them die, weeds grow lending the city a dishevelled look.

Roundabouts including Geeta Chowk and Charkha Chowk, marked as one of the prime roundabouts whose reconstruction had dealt a heavy blow to the civic body’s pockets and even stirred a controversy about an alleged scam too fall under the same description.

Even though officials in the municipal corporation claim to be conducting regular pruning and trimming of trees, bushes and shrubs, the results of the same cannot be seen on ground.

The municipal corporation had, in tenders passed in the last three weeks worth almost Rs 60 lakh, assigned jobs of road gully cleaning in seven of its twenty wards. A tender worth 5.85 lakh has also been passed for construction of a sump well in sector 19, in ward no. 13 of Panchkula, to help the water drain from sector 19, which floods each time it rains.

The work on the tender bids won is yet to be started. This may pose a threat of severe delay as pre-monsoon showers have already been reported and the IMD has announced an early monsoon, predicting its beginning from June 25.

While monsoon preparations generally used to begin by mid-March or early April, the teams have mostly remained busy in managing the pandemic. All sanitisation teams, including that of fogging, have been diverted to different works.

The fogging teams now conduct sanitisation of public places and houses of those testing positive. The city has not been fogged even once.

Even the dengue team of the civil hospital is all hands on deck, remaining unavailable to conduct raids and checks in government officers for stagnated water or for leaving larvae eating fish in large water bodies. Hence, RWAs remain worried.

“We hope the authorities are not turning a blind eye to issues of mosquitoes else we may very well have another epidemic of dengue on hand very soon,” said president of Panchkula CWA, S K Naiyar.

As issues go on towering one on top of another, several sectors report facing severe issues of power cuts beginning midnight and going to till early morning hours (sector 15), having no drinking water supply (sector 20) and water logging even after light showers (sector 8).

The road gullies as well as manholes of the city remain choked and open, causing an alarming situation for the residents.

Only last year, a man was found dead in an open HSVP water-supply manhole near his house, on the Sector 15-16 dividing road of Panchkula. Consequently, an FIR was registered under Section 304 A (causing death by negligence) of the IPC.

Even though both the municipal corporation and HSVP authorities had swung into action after the FIR — covering all manholes falling under their jurisdiction — the situation still remains unchanged. The FIR was later cancelled.

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