Bagbera resident Pratik shows a bottle of dirty water on Wednesday. (Bhola Prasad)
The dream of piped drinking water has turned into a nightmare for nearly 12,000 residents of a housing colony in Jamshedpur with creepy crawlies pouring out with the precious drops of life for more than a week now.
The state-funded Bagbera water project was launched in July last year and at an estimated cost of Rs 2 crore. The drinking water and sanitation department’s Jamshedpur division executed the plan for nearly 800 households with water from Sitarampur Dam.
The filtration plant in Adityapur supplies water to residents through a 40,000-gallon tank at Bagbera Housing Colony Road No. 1. However, the pipelines haven’t been cleaned for the past nine months, turning the water foul and a breeding base for worms.
“For a week, we are receiving dirty water. Earlier, it was only the colour that was foul; but for the last two-three days, there are insects in the water,” said Seema Mishra, an anganwadi worker and resident of Bagbera Road No. 5.
Water is supplied to all homes twice a day for two hours. Each pay Rs 100 a month.
Mishra added that her son started complaining of abdominal pain and had to be administered medicines. “We are now either fetching water from Jugsalai, which is 2km away, or buying bottled water from the market.”
Twelve-year-old Pratik Mishra, a seventh grader of Indira Madhya Vidyalaya, Bagbera, said he too fell ill after drinking the “foul-smelling” water.
“I drank water directly from the tap in my rush to reach school on time on Tuesday. The water had a foul smell. In the evening, my stomach started aching. I consulted a doctor and the pain subsided the next day after taking prescribed pills,” said the boy.
Junior engineer Uday Sharma, who probed the cause on Wednesday, said: “I found dirt had accumulated in pipes because of delay in cleaning. According to rules, supply pipes must be cleaned by jet stream at least once a month. Here, the same hasn’t been done since the project was inaugurated. So, the water is smelling and there are insects in it.”
He said supply in Bagbera came under panchayat and necessary instructions had been issued to Bagbera area’s mukhiya. “He has promised to clear supply lines tomorrow (Thursday),” Sharma added.