GUWAHATI, May 17 - Faced with public ire over its failure to provide adequate supply of water to its consumers, Jal Board officials have sought to pass the buck to other agencies and even natural calamities for the shortfall.
Jal Board is responsible for supplying piped water to some 7,200 consumers of RG Baruah Road, Hengerabari, Borbari, Christian Basti, Rupnagar, Sarumatoria, Jotiya etc. These localities have been divided into three zones, and each zone is provided water supply once daily – either in the morning, afternoon or evening.
Many residents in these localities have been complaining of short supply of water for the last few weeks. They have been forced to buy water from various sources.
There are allegations that the water supplying agencies have installed supply lines beyond their capacity. There are also reports of unscrupulous people extracting water from the supply lines using motors (pumps), thus reducing the flow to other lines.
Jal Board officials, when contacted by this newspaper, admitted there are consumers who have been extracting the water from the pipes using pumps. “We have detected around 300 cases so far,” they said, not ruling out the possibility of existence of more such pumps.
Citing other reasons, the officials said the pipes of the in-operation scheme which was installed way back in 1996, are 25/ 30 years old. Wear and tear of these pipes are a regular phenomenon, which leads to disruption in the water supply.
The officials also claimed that there have been frequent storms in the last few weeks, which resulted in damage to the infrastructure.
The officials also blamed erratic power supply for disruption in water supply. “If there is a power shutdown at the Satpukhuri plant for say two hours, we tend to lose around 5 lakh litres of water,” they said. However, it is learnt that the power line at its installation near the barge at Satpukhuri (Kharghuli) is reportedly a dedicated line.
Frequent fluctuation in the water level of the Brahmaputra was also cited as a reason for the erratic water supply. “When the water level changes, we have to relocate the barge to another place. For this, the pump and other systems have to be shut down,” they said.
However, the officials admitted that though the installed treatment capacity of Jal Board is 12.8 MLD, it is currently treating around 7.8 MLD water per day due to infrastructural bottlenecks. In fact, Jal Board has stopped giving new connections due to capacity saturation.
However, residents are not amused at the explanations given by Jal Board. “The problem is not new. Every time they give the same reasons. Why can’t the government take some permanent measures to address the woes of the city residents? They are collecting the charges and tax regularly,” locals felt.