Ex-Mayor claims credit for improved water supply to Shimla city
Corporation had spent over Rs 100 crore for the repair and purchase of pipelines, water treatment plants, pumps, bulk meters, etc before the signing of the MoU.
Shimla: Shimla city has been facing acute shortage of water that intensified during the last couple of years. Shimla required 45 MLD water daily to fulfill the total water requirement. The city was, however, receiving only 28 to 34 MLD daily.
Now as the situation has improved, Bhartiya Janata Party is claiming all credit for it. However, Sanjay Chauhan, former Mayor of Shimla, explains how SMC had worked to fix the problem during his tenure.
A large amount of water was lost due to leakage in the supply pipes. The pipes were not maintained for over a decade. Earlier, the 20 MLD Giri water scheme was supplying only 8 to 12 MLD water as rest of the amount was lost in leakages.
The Gumma station has a capacity of 22 MLD daily but the efficiency had dropped to 12 to 14 MLD due to leakage. The IPH Department did not provide any maintenance since 1982. The supply infrastructure was in tatters.
The IPH Department did not provide any maintenance to the pumping station since 1982, says Chauhan. The supply infrastructure was in tatters. Daily wastage of water worth lakhs of ropes continued unitl mid-2017.
Neither the BJP-led government nor the Congress-led government attended this grieve issue all these years, he says.
However, currently, the total quantity of water supply from five pumping stations has reached 50 MLD daily and the city has received a respite from water shortage.
Currently, Gumma pumping station is running at a capacity of 21.40 MLD, Giri at 19 MLD, Churat at 4.51 MLD, Chaid 0.49 MLD, and Koti-Barandi at 4.97 MLD.
The quality of water has improved during last 18 months. Not even a single case of jaundice was reported during this period, says Chauhan.
Prior to 2016, the responsibility of water supply was entrusted on the Irrigation & Public Health Department of Himachal Pradesh Government.
Since 2007, cases of jaundice had begun to appear due to contamination of the drinking water with sewage. In its report in 2007, the NIV Pune had established that the water lifted from Ashwani Khad was contaminated by sewage.
However, last year, after the deadly jaundice outbreak that had killed over two dozen people and affected thousands of others, the SMC took over the control of the water supply to the city, he said.
Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Irrigation and Public Health and Urban Development department for setting up of the World Bank aided Rs. 720 crores Greater Shimla Water Supply and Sewerage Circle (GSWSSC).
Two strategies were framed to improve the quantity and quality of the water supply.
These included a short-term arrangement of lifting 65 MLD additional water daily from River Sutlej, which will allow 24×7 availability of water to the citizens, says Chauhan.
Secondly, the Corporation attended the problem of leakage by either repairing or replacing old worn out pipelines.
First, the Koti-Barandi scheme was executed in which a pipeline was laid upto Ashwani Khad. The Giri scheme pipelines had started leaking in 2008 – the year it was commissioned. SMC spent four crores to replace about 2 kms long pipeline.
Chauhan claimed the Corporation has already spent over Rs 100 crore for the repair and purchase of pipelines, water treatment plants, pumps, bulk meters, etc before the signing of the MoU.
Further, Chauhan claims that the SMC had questioned the quality of the pipelines and the matter is being investigated by the Vigilance Department.