Water tanks at the RMC godown at Bakri Bazar in Ranchi earlier this week. Picture by Hardeep Singh
In the height of summer, when vast stretches of the capital are going thirsty, the task of installing water tanks procured by Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) is on, but in painful slow motion.
Based on RMC CEO Manoj Kumar’s order to distribute 110 water tanks of 2,000-litre capacity each across 55 wards, the civic body conceptualised a Rs 12-lakh project. RMC is also buying storage units via open tender in lots across April and May.
However, of the 110 water tanks, only 25 have distributed water. Eighty-five have not.
The reason is simple. Each water tank first needs to be painted to earmark it as RMC or nagar nigam property. Then, each needs to be fitted with a tap. Finally, at the ward level, each tank needs a platform to stand on.
So far, 25 tanks have been painted, fitted with taps and installed on platforms. The rest haven’t. Many are idling at the RMC’s Bakri Bazar godown, waiting to be taken to wards.
Storekeeper of RMC godown Omkar Pandey, asked about distribution of water tanks to wards, sounded defensive. “The fact is we are already installing water tanks. You may say the process is slow, but the process is on. Just procuring water tanks does not end the story. We have to mark it, get taps fitted, construct a platform in its respective ward and then shift it. It takes time.”
Asked if water tanks could be installed before monsoon, he smiled: “Certainly.”
Subodh Kumar Sinha, the in-charge of RMC water supply, said they were doing all they could. “Fifty-five tanks, as of today (Tuesday), have reached wards. Another 55 will be sent as soon as possible,” he said.
But ward councillors said tanks without taps or platforms were as good as no tanks.
Ratnesh Kumar, councillor of ward No. 39, which comprises a bulk of the water-starved areas near JSCA stadium in Dhurwa and ironically, the Hatia dam site, was forthright.
“A water tank should perform its job and not be an ornament,” he said. “Without a tap and a stand, what is its utility?”
RMC rickshaws meant for garbage collection are also standing at the Bakri Bazar godown. But storekeeper Pandey affirmed there was no problem or delay in distributing them. “We ordered 150 vehicles, received 120 and distributed 110, two rickshaws at each ward. We are left with 10 and in the process of procuring 30 more,” he added.