Residents of Mohali continued to suffer for the eighth consecutive day due to acute water shortage in the city after two water-supply pipelines from Kajauli water works were damaged near Gharuan village on August 20.
Although work on the repair has re-started after the first attempt failed on Monday, the officials of various departments continue to play the blame game.
Officials from the Department of Water Supply and Sanitation (DWSS), which is responsible for most of the water supply in Mohali, maintain that the repair work was the “legal responsibility” of Welspun, the private company which had been given the contracted by Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) to lay two new pipelines from Kajauli. The existing pipelines had been damaged during the excavation work done by Welspun to lay the new pipelines.
GMADA officials, on the other hand, blame DWSS for not having the equipment for repair work. “If a person is injured in an accident, it is the doctor who treats him. The accused responsible for the accident only later pays the compensation,” said Ashok Virdi, Executive Engineer, GMADA, adding that the damage to the pipelines would have been caused anyway because the excavation work had to be done. “Pipelines of Phase III and Phase IV are poorly and haphazardly built, and therefore, the damage would have occurred sooner or later. There are several concealed leakages in these pipelines and it is the responsibility of DWSS to repair them,” said Virdi.
However, officials from both the departments agree on one aspect — that the pipelines were already very poorly built. “Pipelines of Phase I and Phase II are made of steel, but due to corruption in high places, concrete was used to build the pipelines for Phase III and Phase IV, thus, making it very hard to maintain and repair them,” said an official from DWSS, adding that of the 17 feet of diameter assigned for the new pipelines, only 13 feet could be used due to the zigzag pattern of the existing pipelines.
Meanwhile, the water tankers supplied to the affected areas continued to be delivered at expensive rates. “It cost us Rs 800 to get our tank filled, and it is very sad to know that a problem of this magnitude has been allowed to continue for so many days,” said Balpreet Kaur, a resident of Phase 10.
However, there was some respite for the residents as