Friday, October 23, 2009

Pipe work burns pockets and raises stink

Pipe work burns pockets and raises stink

Malleshwaram Residents say they had to pay contractor to repair water pipes broken by earth mover during operation

Arun Dev. Bangalore



The residents of Malleshwaram 6th Main heaved a sigh of relief when civic workers began to replace age-old sanitary pipes with bigger ones to avoid flooding in basements of apartments during rains.
But it only opened a flood of woes as the equipment used in the operation broke water pipes running above disrupting water supply to houses along the road.
Civic authorities did not bother to take any immediate action to repair the water pipes. Finally residents had to spend from their pockets to get the water pipes repaired.
"To get the broken pipeline leading to my house repaired, I had to pay the contractor Rs12,000" said Dr Usha Diwakar.
Many others, who could not afford to pay that much, had to silently suffer days and nights without water.
"When such accidents happen during maintenance work, it is the responsibility of the authorities concerned to do the damage control," said Sandya Pawar, a resident and member of Malleshwaram Swabhimana Initiative (MSI).
Members of the MSI, a residents' welfare association functioning in the area, said the new pipes laid down were not bigger, as claimed by the public works department (PWD) officials, to drain out rain water.
"When we raised this issue, the local MLA insisted that the new sewage pipes were bigger in diameter," said Sumathi Rao, a MSI member.
Besides disrupting water supply, the digging operation threw up a lot of mud which made the area stink badly.
"When the digging started, mud was taken up from the depths and dumped in the open. This raised a stink which became unbearable after rains," said Lochini R, another resident who works as a teacher.
"After laying the pipes, the workers never bothered to level the ground. The mud still remains on top and the place smells awful," said Seetha Ravi, another member of MSI.
"This road was the favourite for many joggers and walkers. It's no more now as they can't walk without covering their noses," said Lochini.
Local MLA Aswath Narayan appealed to residents to remain patient.
"The PWD is cleaning up the mud. It will take some time for the mud to dry up. Regarding the size of the pipe, the PWD officials have documents to prove that the new sanitary pipes are bigger. People have to be more patient," Narayan said.
"We are aware of the problem and will be working to resolve it. The problem will be addressed in a day or two," said Vivekantha SV, area executive engineer of Malleshwaram.

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