People draw water from a well at Kokar in Ranchi on Friday. Picture by Hardeep Singh
Several neighbourhoods of Ranchi went thirsty for more than 36 hours from Thursday morning, as the state power employees’ strike over privatisation snapped water supply from Rukka and Dhurwa reservoirs.
And though the ceasework was called off early on Friday morning, homes remained parched till evening, leaving many with the unfair choice of buying bottled water or drinking it dirty from uncovered wells and badly maintained hand pumps.
The troubled pockets included Booty, Bariatu Housing Colony, Jay Prakash Nagar Colony, Chitragupta Nagar Colony, Rani Bagan, Kokar, Lalpur, Kantatoli and North Office Para, where well over 200,000 residents were affected.
Anju Shandilya, a homemaker in Rani Bagan, said the supply from Rukka reservoir had not resumed till noon. “Yesterday (Thursday), we went queuing up with buckets. But, the hand pump was belching out dirty water. We could not drink any of it, though I used it for other domestic chores. My children were thirsty this morning. So, my husband bought eight drinking water bottles,” she said.
Brinda Devi, another homemaker living near Distillery Bridge, Kokar, said the power strike had left households crippled.
“The nearest well is half a kilometre away and is swamped with people from some 50 households. But, I had little choice,” she said. Unlike the Shandilyas, the households in Kokar were a tad lucky because the water from the well was “drinkable”.
Sources said power supply to the Booty pump house was restored around 3am on Friday, after which the same supply division began distributing drinking water among consumers.
Till 10am, it had managed to supply water to many households in the area, but still a good number of families remained thirsty.
“So far, we have supplied about 15 million gallons of water to half of the households in our area. By 5pm, all residents will get water,” said K.K. Verma, the executive engineer of Booty supply division, which normally supplies 30 million gallons to 400,000 households every day.
Unlike the Booty, things were almost normal in areas under Gonda and Dhurwa supply divisions.
“We had no crisis. Only in North Office Para, we have been unable to pump drinking water to households from our tank there. As soon as power supply is restored in that area, water supply will resume,” said Riaz Alam, the executive engineer of Dhurwa supply division.
Niranjan Kumar, Alam’s counterpart in Gonda, confirmed all was well in his division. “We had no power pangs and our consumers got drinking water on time,” he said.