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Road flooded, people thirsty

Mindless civic planning has forced more than 150,000 residents of Adityapur to stay without drinking water for over 48 hours while a government department and a road construction firm continue to bicker over a leaking pipe.

Cracks have developed on one of the main pipelines running below the under-construction service lane of Tata-Kandra Road. Incidentally, the stretch of lane near Sher-e-Punjab Chowk under which the leaks lie is complete and the Jharkhand Accelerated Road Development Company Limited (JARDCL) is reluctant to allow the drinking water and sanitation department to dig up the newly laid surface for pipe repairs.

Result: the supply from the Sitarampur water filtration plant is not reaching residents of Adityapur Colony, M-Type Colony and 20-odd residential apartments. Also, leaking drinking water is inundating the service lane every day between 3am and 6am.

“This is the second consecutive time that we have been badly hit by drinking water crisis. Earlier, the sanitation department had some issues with the municipal council. This time, it is a conflict of interest with a road firm. We are the ones bearing the brunt,” said Abhimanyu Singh, a resident of M-Type area.

P.K. Chowdhury, the executive engineer of drinking water and sanitation department’s Adityapur division, claimed he had contacted his counterpart in the PWD (road construction), besides the company to facilitate pipe repair.

“But both are reluctant. Now, we have urged (Seraikela-Kharsawan) deputy commissioner K.N. Jha to intervene,” he said.

He added that his department had started laying a new pipeline parallel to the existing worn out one that had suffered leaks. “But, the service lane and pipeline work need to progress simultaneously. Unless it is complete, we cannot start drinking water supply through the new pipeline,” he explained.

A senior JARDCL official dubbed the request to dismantle the new road for fixing the leaking pipe unjustified.

“The authorities should find an alternative way to mend the pipeline. How can we allow them to dig up the newly constructed service lane, when the project is already running late?” he said.

The service lanes are a part of the Rs 185-crore Tata-Kandra toll road. The ambitious project, linking Jamshedpur to Adityapur, was scheduled for completion in April 2013 and is running behind scheduled because of frequent glitches in building the service lanes.

Promising little relief for residents, deputy commissioner Jha said he had already asked officials of both departments (PWD-road construction and drinking water and sanitation) to co-ordinate and mend the pipeline.

“Drinking water is an emergency service. Repair work will be commence soon,” he said, without elaborating how.