Over 95% IPH water tanks in Himachal have no locks or fences to check unwanted intrusion: Report
95 % of about 50,000 IPH water storage tanks in towns and rural areas across Himachal have no fencing and locking provision to check entry of anti-social elements or unauthorised access by unwanted intruders.
SHIMLA– Until a week ago, no one was concerned or even had questions on how government ensure security of storage tanks used by Irrigation & Public Health Department and Shimla Municipal Corporation to prevent intrusion of unwanted or antisocial elements. In the first quarter of 2016, the public had just came to know that administration, corroding with corruption, did not hesitate to serve sewage contaminated water to people knowingly, which lead to deadly jaundice outbreak that claimed about 20 lives (according to official stats) and put thousands of people on hospital beds within a couple of months. Now, with facts revealed in Yug Gupta murder case have demonstrated how concerned the government is about ensuring safety and security of its public water supply storage tanks.
According to a report by The Tribune, more than 95 per cent of about 50,000 water storage tanks of the Irrigation and Public Health (IPH) Department that supply water to towns and rural areas across the state have no fencing and locking provision, leave alone CCTV cameras to check anti-social elements.
The reason is simple: the IPH Department is yet to put in place a proper standard operating procedure (SOP) under the Water Manual for the “safety, cleaning of storage tanks to ensure quality water to the residents”.
Only 5 per cent of the IPH storage tanks in the state are fenced and secured. Most of the water storage tanks under the IPH have no proper gates and fencing. This makes them an easy target for criminals and anti-social elements as it happened in the Yug murder case, revealed the sources.
The Central Public Health Engineering Organisation (CPHEO) has issued the SOP and guidelines for the IPH to provide safe portable water to the resident under the Water Manual. The CPHEO has also issued guidelines for cleaning and treatment of sewage treatment plants in the country, revealed IPH engineers.
It was after direction from the High Court that the IPH and Shimla Municipal Corporation started checking water samples on a regular basis before supplying water to the residents. It has also directed to the State Environmental Protection and Pollution Control Board (SEPPCB) to check water quality of sewage water being discharged after treatment at sewerage treatment plants into the khads and rivers.
Though the SMC has taken steps to put all its 47 water tanks under lock and key and other key storage tanks under CCTV cameras to check its misuse by the unscrupulous elements, the IPH has yet to wake up from its slumber to do this exercise in other key towns in the state.
Shimla Mayor Sanjay Chauhan, who claims no remains of Yug’s body were found inside the Kelston tank, said the corporation would put all water tanks under lock and keys within a week’s time as the Municipal House has given its nod for it.
Photo: The Tribune