The Telegraph
Saturday , May 3 , 2014
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Cable snag triggers water crisis
- Mada stops supply to Jharia, Katras; employee protest mounts pressure

Over 15 lakh residents of colliery areas in Dhanbad district’s Jharia and Katras are doing without water since Thursday evening after the Jamadoba-based water treatment plant of Mineral Area Development Authority (Mada) stopped functioning.

The crisis, which has come at a time the maximum temperature in the district is hovering around 43°C-45°C, was triggered by bursting of a cable at an electric transformer, which, in turn, led to disruption of power supply for running the motors at the Jamadoba plant. Localities like Jamadoba, Lodna, Phusbunglow, Bhaga, Jharia town, Ghanudih, Sindri Road, Ena Islampur, Bhagatdih, Bastacola, Dhansar, Kendua, Karkend, Baseria, Putki, Tilatand, Katras and Chatabad are the worst hit.

Mada supplies more than 174 lakh gallons of water to these areas daily through river Damodar and Topchanchi lake. Around 24 lakh gallons is supplied through Topchanchi lake and 150 lakh gallons from Damodar.

“I usually open my tea shop by 6am as the maximum rush is during morning hours till 10am. But today (Friday), I could reach my shop only around 11am after procuring water from a nearby well. The administration must do something to bail us out,” said Pradip Modi, a resident of Hethli Bandh in Jharia.

An exasperated councillor of ward 10 in Putki, Sanjay Yadav, said when excessive heat was causing all water bodies in the district to dry up fast, disruption of water supply had made life unbearable in areas like Kendua, Baseria, Godhar, Kusunda and Karkend.

“More than 36,000 people of these areas are dependent on Mada for their water needs as the pit water supplied by BCCL is unfiltered and not safe for drinking. This apart, hand pumps and wells cannot be dug up in colliery areas because of the depleted water level,” Yadav said.

But the residents may well brace for more difficult days as more than 600 employees of Mada’s water division department went on an indefinite strike from Friday in protest against non implementation of certain terms of agreement settled during a tripartite meeting held on March 11.

Mada MD Ravindra Singh played down the protests, saying that the boycott by water division employees had nothing to do with non-supply of water to Jharia and Katras.

“Rather, a cable puncture that tripped distribution of power to run the motors at Jamadoba led to halt in water supply. Repairs have started. Once the cable is up and running, we will try to ensure supply of water,” he added.

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