THRISSUR:Fed up with the alleged apathy of KWA officials, a panchayat vice-president here on Monday climbed atop of a 50-ft tank meant for a water supply scheme and threatened to commit suicide.
Keeping the police, fire force personnel, panchayat and revenue officials on the tenterhooks for nearly two-and-a-half hours, vice-president N A Sabu of Kolazhi Panchayat near here, threatened to jump off the tank unless he got assurance from the Water Resources Minister P J Joseph on commissioning the two overhead water tanks at Kolazhi at the earliest.
The works with regard to the water tanks were commissioned in 2006 and the plan was to pump water to the tanks directly from Peechi Dam.
“The two water tanks with a capacity of 4.6 lakh litres of water which were built by spending `6 crore as a part of the Urban Water Scheme of World Bank availed by the civic body. Several thousands of houses in the region will get water, if the tanks are commissioned. If the trial run is not conducted in time and the tanks of the project are kept empty for 10 years, there is a possibility of them becoming unsuitable for the project,” N A Sabu told ‘Express’.
Sabu, who protested atop the water tank also put a noose around his neck using a plastic rope and tied the other end of it to a pillar of the water tank.
By 12 pm minister P J Joseph contacted Sabu on the mobile phone and assured that within 15 days the water tanks will commissioned. A team of Fire and Rescue Services personnel went up to the VP and brought him to down.
Hearing the news, MLA P A Madhavan, panchayat officials, concerned executive engineer of the KWA U G Lalitha and tehsildhar also rushed to Chinmaya Garden in Kolazhi were the tank is situated. U G Lalitha admitted that the laxity on the part of Kerala Water Authority officials in head office at Thiruvanathapuram to allot funds of `55 lakh for setting up the new pump house exclusively for the two water tanks were the reason for the delay in commissioning the project.
“For the time being, we will pump water from Cheroor pump house to these tanks and a permanent pumping system will come in place within two-and-a-half months,” she added.
She said that if the Urban Water Scheme Project is commissioned, water could be supplied to 2000 KWA pipes in and around the civic body.
At present water is being supplied to these pipes from other water tanks and with the water scheme becoming operational, the availability of potable water in the civic body would definitely increase.
Minister Assures Immediate Action
Thrissur: Speaking to ‘Express’ on Monday, Water Resources Minister P J Joseph said that the water project scheme would be commissioned at the earliest and the KWA officials had been given instructions in this regard. “At present, I don’t know what led to such a delay in the project becoming operational and if need the allegations of slackness on the part of the KWA officials will also be looked into if needed,” the Minister said.