Corporation councillors blame officials for the poor implementation of water supply schemes

The Madurai Corporation has attributed the drinking water shortage to monsoon failure and inadequate storage in the Vaigai dam.

However, at the council meeting held here on Wednesday, Corporation councillors blamed officials for the poor implementation of water supply schemes. Mayor V.V. Rajan Chellappa announced recently that borewells would be sunk in all wards that were facing water shortage.

But the work was yet to begin, councillors complained. Councillor K. Thiraviyam (ward 23) of Vilangudi raised the issue, saying “You promised to sink borewells in my ward, but nothing has happened so far.”

He also complained of failure to post operators to regulate piped water supply as the erstwhile operators of the Vilangudi town panchayat had been transferred after the local body was annexed to the Madurai Corporation. The Mayor instructed officials to start the work immediately as it had been sanctioned.

Kannagi Baskaran (ward 80) complained that lack of spare parts in the Corporation storeroom was a handicap in repairing the motor pumps of the borewells on time.

She was supported by M. Chellam (ward 63), who said that it took one or two months to repair the motors.

“We are not able to answer the residents till the motors are set right,” she said.

Ms. Chellam, who claimed that she had been complaining of failure to pump adequate water to the overhead tank in Villapuram for the last six months, raised the issue again on Wednesday.

“Only when we get water for a depth of 12 feet, there will be sufficient pressure in the pipelines so that tail-end regions get water,” she said.

S.T. Jeyabalan (ward 64) attributed this failure to leakages in the pipelines at many places.

“Only when a permanent solution is found for the leakages, we can solve the problem,” he said.

K. Tamil Selvi (ward 37) presented a different problem.

Mixing of sewage made it difficult for the residents to use the water supplied in many areas, including Keezha Thoppu, she said.

An engineer identified the problem as being related to worn-out cast iron pipes that have been replaced with PVC pipes.

However, she said the ward still faced such problems.

Kesava Pandiammal (ward 1) said that the water supplied by Corporation lorries - only one or two lorries a day - was not adequate to cater to the all the residents of her ward.

“The lorry supply is enough to cover only a couple of streets. Those people who fail to get water come to me with complaints,” she said.

She added that out of 19 hand-pumps in her ward, only three were in a working condition.

Water shortage could be solved to a great extent if these hand pumps were repaired, she said.

This opinion was expressed by Raja S. Seenivasan (ward 93).

“All the wards (in the old city) have adequate number of borewells. But many of them were not in a working condition. In my wards seven submersible pumps have slipped into the borewells. Our employees were not showing interest in retrieving them to make the borewells functional,” he said.

He felt that if all the existing borewells in the city were working, there would be no need to sink new borewells, he said.

B. Santhiya (ward 98) came up with a different type of grievance.

She said that though a borewell was sunk in Tirunagar six months ago, it could not be put to use for lack of an electricity connection.

Earlier, DMK members walked out of the council hall as soon as the meeting began as the Mayor made a reference to the Union Minister M.K. Alagiri with regard to “irregularities” in fertilizer subsidy.

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