Imphal, Oct. 2: The Manipur public health engineering department yesterday asked its executive engineer O. Deben Singh to show cause why disciplinary action should not be initiated against him in the wake of media reports alleging that untreated water had been supplied to the greater Imphal area for the past several days.
Principal secretary of the department, Ram Muivah, issued the showcause notice to Deben Singh, who works in the public construction division of the department.
In an office memorandum, Muivah asked the executive engineer to submit his “written explanation” by Friday, giving reasons why disciplinary action should not be taken against him for his alleged failure in taking timely action.
Stating that supply of untreated water was a health hazard, the memorandum said such media reports arising out of “negligence” of the department’s engineers were an “embarrassment” to the department and did not reflect well on the government.
“We will definitely take action against any official of the department who is found neglecting his duties. The department will also devise a mechanism to constantly monitor functioning of the water supply system,” public health engineering minister Hemochandra Singh said.
The minister said any supplier not supplying the total quantity of chemicals required for treating water — like lime, alum and bleaching powder — would be blacklisted.
Singh said his department is facing difficulties in improving the water supply situation in the state, including the greater Imphal area, because of paucity of funds.
“The existing 17 water treatment plants in the greater Imphal area were constructed in the 1980s or earlier. Therefore, there are cases of highly turbid (water being supplied) during the rainy season and leaking pipes have worsened the situation,” Singh said.
Consumers have been complaining that they are getting muddy and contaminated water.
The total requirement of water in the greater Imphal area is 105 million litres daily. But even during the monsoon, only 70 per cent of the total requirement can be met.
In order to improve the water supply situation, particularly in the greater Imphal area, the government is seeking funds from Japan International Co-operation Agency, the minister said.
“A team of the agency will visit Imphal soon to see the project plan. The response of the agency is very encouraging and we are hoping that the agency will accept our request,” he said.
Stating that the department required about Rs 1,000 crore to upgrade the water supply system in greater Imphal, Singh said his department was also seeking funds from the ministry of urban development.
The minister has issued strong instructions to all the engineers of the department to go to the field and plug any leakage.