Drinking water stands at Karamtoli Chowk in Ranchi on Sunday morning. (Hardeep Singh)
Gallons of precious drinking water were wasted and a major roundabout in Ranchi was submerged when an attempt to solve one civic problem gave rise to two new ones.
Karamtoli Chowk, in the heart of the capital, overnight turned into a knee-deep cesspool of water. On Sunday morning, hundreds of commuters were shocked to see water at the roundabout that connects prominent areas such as Morabadi, Booty More, Albert Ekka Chowk and Lalpur. Moreover, some 10,000 persons in areas such as Jai Prakash Nagar and Bariatu Road did not get water supply on Sunday morning.
The culprit was the contractor, which the drinking water and sanitation department had hired to replace the area’s main leaking underground pipeline.
Drinking water and sanitation department, with Jai Prakash Bhai Patel at the helm, awarded Tirupati Construction the work order. Late on Saturday evening, this contractor — showing complete lack of time management and coordination — removed the leaking pipeline but did not replace it with another.
As a result, in the absence of a channel, gallons of purified water from Rukka dam’s water pump started gushing out at Karamtoli Chowk since Saturday around 9pm. Water flowed for over 13 hours when on Sunday morning, around 10am, officials at Rukka water pump switched off supply at their end.
Traffic was diverted at 9am, when assistant sub-inspector (traffic police) N. Yadav and constable Rajiv Kumar arrived on duty.
“When I arrived around 9am, I found the road flooded and a huge traffic congestion. We diverted traffic immediately,” Yadav said.
But confusion reigned. Agriculture minister Yogendra Sao, going to Booty More on Bariatu Road with his convoy, was stuck for 10 minutes around 11am, after which he was directed to the diverted route.
Later in the day, Tirupati Construction pressed four labourers who removed pucca road dividers to streamline water into Karamtoli Tank on the flank off the road. That solved the problem up to a point, but now water is flooding the tank.
An executive of Tirupati Construction, not willing to be named, said water from around the roundabout had been drained out, but the ditches dug for pipe laying work were still flooded.
Residents said water started flooding from late last night but the flow was not so heavy then.
The problem grew worse when Rukka pump officials released drinking water for Sunday morning supply.
Terming it a case of serious negligence, drinking water and sanitation department chief engineer Deendayal Sharma said a report would be sought from the contractor concerned. “The department will hold an inquiry on the matter,” he said.
On whether residents of Jai Prakash Nagar and Bariatu Road got water supply at all on Sunday, drinking water and sanitation department executive engineer Ramadhin Prasad said: “We made alternative arrangements in the afternoon, but the supply was below normal.”
What problems did you face due to the water leakage?