| Construction work of water tank under way at Gaya police lines area. Picture by Suman |
This summer, apart from the agonising heat, a severe water crisis has dealt a stern blow to the residents of the south-west part of Gaya town. This, despite the fact that more than Rs 8.48 crore has been spent on a water supply project that started in May 2007 and is yet to finish.
The project is not likely to be completed this year, even after the 18-month deadline expired in November 2008.
The water crisis aggravates during summer because of depletion of the underground waterlevel. As a result, the borewells and handpumps are unable to fetch water. As an alternate arrangement, the administration has pressed into service tankers for water supply. However, people residing in these areas often complain that the tanker-resident ratio is “absurd”.
Ramashray Singh, a retired deputy manager of Indian Oil Corporation, who owns a house on road number 7 of Hanuman Nagar, told The Telegraph: “The two borewells that were sunk at my house have dried up this year.”
Similar is the situation in 14 other houses near Singh’s house. For their owners, the only option to get water is a handpump installed on the entry point of the lane. “Besides, things have come to such a passé that people are buying 3,000 litres of water for Rs 700 from Gaya Municipal Corporation tankers,” Singh added.
In a latest move, the agency that was given the contract of the project has filed an affidavit before the Public Health and Engineering Department (PHED), Patna head office, that water will be available by June 30. However, the assurance seems to be a distant dream.
Kirloskar Brothers Limited, Calcutta, was given the Rs 12.56-crore contract of Gaya water supply project. The work included design, execution of entire work related to the scheme, trial run of three months after completion of work and thereafter operation and maintenance of the entire project for six months. According to the agreement, the work had begun on May 4, 2007 and had to be completed in 18 months (November 3, 2008). The project has been divided into three zones — AP Colony, Dandibagh and Manpur.
Kirloskar project in-charge of the eastern region Partho Chatterjee said: “The company faced many problems regarding the project. First, it took around one-and-a-half-years to get the permission to carry out blasts at the Brahmayoni Hills to build the reservoir. PHED officers took over six months to finalise the site for construction of the reservoir. However, the pipeline network in most of the areas of AP Colony is complete.” Sources said 50 per cent work has been done in the other two zones.