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Puddle road, people thirsty

The Tata-Kandra Road is flooded. But don’t blame the monsoon; the mess is manmade.

The 15km artery — connecting the industrial belt of Jamshedpur-Adityapur-Kandra, widened for more than Rs 18 crore barely two years ago and awaiting formal launch — has turned into a precarious puddle near Aditya Gardens, thanks to a leak in a decades-old pipeline that the drinking water and sanitation department wouldn’t care to repair.

A rough survey shows that around 50,000 litres of drinking water is getting wasted between 5am and 8am every day for the past fortnight, forcing thirsty Adityapur residents to scout for a source of lifeline in deep-bore wells or kiosks in the steel city some 5km away.

The matter has been brought to the notice of the department, but it is unwilling to act.

Executive engineer, drinking water and sanitation (Adityapur division), Mohammed Nazrul Imam admitted there was a leak in the pipeline below the Tata-Kandra Road, but seemed in no hurry to fix the problem. “The old pipeline that is seeping. Since a new one has been laid, we are not getting the damaged one repaired. Sooner or later, we will abandon the old pipeline,” he said.

Adityapur has a population of 2.5 lakh. Though the residents have water connection on paper, in practice, bustees like Majhitola, Sharma Colony, Ichhapur, Kuluptanga and Raedih depend on deep-bore wells or Jamshedpur.

“Before the leak near Aditya Gardens, water used to run in a trickle from our tap. Now, it has stopped completely. Our inconvenience matters to nobody,” said Sanjay Singh, a resident of Adityapur.

Currently, drinking water is supplied through both the new and the old pipes. So, while a section of residents does not have gripes, another still grapples with dry days because their share of drinking water floods Tata-Kandra Road.

“We will shift all connections to the new pipeline. We have asked the Adityapur Municipal Council to prepare a list in this regard,” Imam said, adding that the old pipe was so worn out that it would not withstand water pressure even if repaired.

Also, to fix the old pipeline, the department would have to once again request road construction bosses to dismantle the Tata-Kandra artery, which has already seen half a dozen dig-ups in the past two years.

“It is a predicament. We cannot stop supply through the old pipe until households are reconnected to the new one. And, as long as we don’t stop supply, water will continue to spill at this rate. Plugging the leak is a futile exercise because the pipe is too weak and may once again burst out somewhere. Digging the road so many times isn’t a good idea either,” the engineer said.