Residents of Jawaharnagar locality drain out water on Monday. Picture by Bhola Prasad
More than 500 residents of Jawaharnagar locality in Mango experienced a flash flood-like situation minus the rain on a chilly winter night on Sunday.
Water gushed into nearly 50 houses in Line No. 15 around 9pm as a valve in the water treatment plant of the Rs 64.18-crore Mango drinking water project malfunctioned during a trial run. The project is going to be commissioned from the first week of January.
The force of the water broke a boundary wall and damaged property almost in every home. Sujoy Chakraborty (16) injured his left leg as he slipped while trying to rescue household items from being swept away.
“We were watching TV when all of a sudden water gushed into our houses. We came out and saw that the boundary wall of our house had collapsed. My son slipped in ankle-deep water and we got him treated at a local nursing home,” said Nimai Chakraborty (62), a resident and a contract worker by profession.
Housewife Rita Sharma (35) said water had damaged their hearth and they were still cleaning the muck that was left behind once the water receded.
“We could not eat as the stove was damaged. Even our vegetables got spoilt. We spent the entire night cleaning our houses,” she said.
Former Jamshedpur West MLA and senior BJP leader Sarayu Roy visited the locality and promised distribution of blankets, rice and dal amongst those affected.
“Leaks happen during trial runs, but Jusco should have deployed personnel to deal with it immediately. Water was stopped after nearly 10 minutes and since the locality is in a low-lying area, it took a long time for the water to drain out. Most of the residents are poor. We are doing whatever we can to mitigate the effect of the mishap,” said the BJP leader.
Executive engineer of the drinking water and sanitation department (Adityapur division) Bipin Bihari Singh on Monday issued a written directive to Jusco to depute adequate number of officials armed with cell phones and other modes of communications at strategic places during such trial runs to prevent recurrence of the incident.
“On Sunday, we tested the intake well near Subernarekha river and also the raw water raising to main pipeline and both were found satisfactory. In the night, the water treatment plant was being tested when the mishap took place. Such mishaps do happen during trial runs as maximum load (in this case water pressure) is applied. But it seems Jusco official delayed in taking action,” added Sinha.
Piped water supply to nearly 50 per cent of Mango locality is expected to commence from the first week of January next year from this drinking water project.
Tata Steel vice-president (corporate services) Sanjiv Paul said the mishap was due to a valve breakdown. “All aspects would be looked into during trial runs in the future,” he said.