Srinagar: The Public Health Engineering department in Kashmir is always in news and mostly for wrong reasons. The department has over the past few years developed a habit of inaction as the officials of the department have not been made accountable before the public.
To give an example of the callous attitude of the department one needs to have lot of patience as the list is long enough to fill in lot of print space. However, the recent criminal act of the department forced almost major portions of the City and its outskirts to go waterless for almost 54 hours.
This being just the tip of the iceberg, the officials put in charge of the help lines and control room numbers that have been provided to the general public have been mastered in the art of telling lies and giving false assurances to the common people.
On Friday last week the PHE department cut the water supply to Khrew, Pampore, Balhama, Zawan, Khonmoh, Athwajan, Panthachowk, Sonwar, Indira Nagar, Shivpora, Lasjan, Soiteng, Sumbalbugh, Rakhsalina, Kanhama, Poru, Suthsu, Chattergan, Nowgam, Kozivera, Chanpora, Wathora in central and southern parts of the city besides, Reshipora, Sabdan, Dondos, Shariefabad, Chowribad, Harran, Hakermulla, Hanjik, Dooru Galwanpora, Gund Hassibhat, Sozyeth, Goripora, Khomaniabad, Mominabad, Zainakot and Mujgund areas in northern side.
The reason was that the PHE intended to connect these areas to the two major water supply schemes of 10 MGD capacity each. These schemes, Tangnar and Sukhnag were completed at a cost of Rs. 500 crore to augment drinking water supply in the Srinagar city and parts of Budgam district.
The Tangnar water supply scheme involving an expenditure of Rs 161.37 crore is a lift scheme and is to provide drinking water facilities to Khrew, Pampore, Balhama, Zawan, Khonmoh, Athwajan, Panthachowk, Sonwar, Indira Nagar, Shivpora, Lasjan, Soiteng, Sumbalbugh, Rakhsalina, Kanhama, Poru, Suthsu, Chattergan, Nowgam, Kozivera, Chanpora and Wathora.
Besides, the Sukhnag water supply scheme that cost around Rs.358.74 crore is to provide drinking water facilities to Reshipora, Sabdan, Dondos, Shariefabad, Chowribad, Harran, Hakermulla, Hanjik, DooruGalwanpora, Gund Hassibhat, Sozyeth, Goripora, Khomaniabad, Mominabad, Zainakot and Mujgund areas.
However, the proposal was executed with no planning and the department without giving and wide publicity to the plan stopped water supply to these areas on Friday last. The residents of these areas were promised that the water supply will be restored within 24 to 36 hours. However, the plan backfired as the PHE failed to put its men and machines on the job and the unplanned execution created a crisis like situation in most of the areas.
The PHE’s failure was compounded by the fact that the department failed to provide potable water on emergency basis as only two water tankers were put in service to cater to this huge geographical area. Most of the residents complained that the tankers could not arrive in their respective colonies and habitations owing to narrow roads and bylanes.
The PHE has two small tankers but they are lying defunct at their headquarter in Lalchowk. Given the important task the department has been provided with, the top officials should be made answerable for this criminal negligence.
The minister in charge of this department should take some tough action against the officials so that a deterrent is set for the future.