Leaks pose accident threat

Water from underground pipes spills on to road & pavement; pedestrians at risk in capital

WATER EVERYWHERE: An elderly woman bathes on Khelgaon-Tatisilwai Road using water leaking from an underground pipe in Ranchi on Friday. The pavement of Kokar-Khelgaon Road (above) is flooded, also because of leaking pipes, forcing pedestrians on to the road. Pictures by Manob Chowdhary

Ranchi: Two busy roads, both highways, have been spewing gallons of water daily because of leaks in underground pipes, multiplying risks of serious accidents in addition to undue waste of a natural resource.

Of the two, the Kokar-Khelgaon stretch of the Ranchi-Ramgarh part of NH-33 and the Khelgaon-Tatisilwai road, the condition of the state highway is more frightening. Local residents have made a habit of bathing and washing clothes in the water that has been leaking from underground pipes on the road leading to Purulia in West Bengal.

Closer to the city, on the Kokar-Khelgaon Road, water is being wasted daily at various points of the stretch, putting pedestrians at risk.

At 9am on Friday, an elderly woman first washed clothes and then took a bath as buses and trucks zipped past on the Khelgaon-Tatisilwai Road. Half a kilometre away towards Tatisilwai More, a middle-aged woman was doing the same at another leak point, the area under Kanke Assembly constituency about 10km from the capital headquarters.

"We have no option as there is no water connection in the area. Some people have their own wells or deep borings. Those who don't come to places like these," remarked the elderly woman.

A resident of the local Khatanga panchayat - it includes Khatanga, Lalganj and Pertol villages with around 500 houses - spoke of the dangers they faced. "Two months ago, a boy's leg got leg fractured after a bike, trying to negotiate the water spill amidst an oncoming truck, hit him," said Sachin Kumar.

"Accidents are common. Still people don't listen," he said, adding that it was a common sight everyday between 6am and 12pm when water is supplied through the underground pipes to other places.

Between Kokar and Khelgaon, a distance of 2km, there are at least half a dozen leak points. This means the pavements are flooded, forcing pedestrians to walk on the main road.

"Earlier, there was no pavement. But last year, after civic guardians laid pavered blocks on both sides in the run-up to the Global Investors' Summit, the road was widened, making it a bit convenient for people to walk. But walking on the main road to avoid water is a risky affair with heavy vehicles passing by," said Ranjan Mishra, a local resident.

PWD drinking water department executive engineer (supply) Sunil Kumar said that the problem on the Khelgaon-Tatisilwai Road was a local fault.

"A week ago, we rectified all leaks on the stretch. It seems local residents were deliberately damaging pipes to create a leak. We are thinking of requesting a police patrol so that the offenders can be nabbed," he said.

He denied the residents' claim that piped water wasn't on offer in the area.

"The problem is that no one wants to pay for water. We can provide connections when people approach us. In addition to people, many truck drivers also wash their vehicles on the road," he said.

The leaks on Kokar-Khelgaon Road, he explained, were because of the old pipes. "We are slowly working out plans to replace the old pipeline. Only then will the problem be sorted out permanently," he said.

Central team spends day at RMC

A two-member team of central assessors, in Ranchi for Swachch Survekshan-2018, continued with documentation work, holding a series of meeting with officials of Ranchi Municipal Corporation officials on Friday.

RMC PRO Naresh Kumar Sinha said the team, which arrived on Thursday, had not apprised them on when they would head out for field inspections. However, Sinha maintained that the actual survey to find out how well the civic body had done could begin from Saturday.

"The survey was scheduled for three days from Thursday, but an extension of days depends on the time the team has. On Saturday, team members may go for field inspections and record citizen's feedback," he said.

Which other stretches in Ranchi pose a threat to commuters? Tell ttkhand@abpmail.com


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