With innovative ideas and detailed planning, officers ensured adequate water supply for the sahitya sammelan in Haveri, a town that routinely suffers from water scarcity.
A team of officers, led by Zilla Panchayat Chief Executive Officer Mohammad Roshan, worked for over nearly two months to ensure that the over 5.5 lakh people who visited the sammelan venue for three days were able to access and use over 8 lakh litres of filtered water, round the clock.
The functional principle behind the project was using the force of gravity. Power supply can be erratic in this small North Karnataka town and they could not rely on it.
In a preparatory meeting, officers came up with the idea of supplying water through an underground network of pipelines, using the force of gravity. On completion, it looked like a massive subterranean drip irrigation system. The project was taken up under the Jal Jeevan Mission of the zilla panchayat.
“The plan was pretty simple and workable. We built a network of pipes to carry water into the sammelan venue and out of it. Since we wanted a zero net energy system, we used huge milk vans filled with water as ground-level tanks and connected them to the pipeline system. That ensured optimal usage of water and that there was no spillage or over ground leakage of water. The whole venue was kept dry and clean,’‘ said Mr. Roshan, who is an engineer by training.
An on-site water laboratory was set up that continuously monitored the water quality and tested it. It was fed into drinking water supply networks after daily certification.
A 128-acre cotton field near the Pune-Bengaluru National Highway was finalised after some discussion. Farmers had just harvested the crop, but the stubble remained. It had three borewells that had not been used for some time. They were rejuvenated by providing them with power supply, motors and pipeline access. Officers dug another borewell at the site. Water from these four sources were used for handwashing and toilets.
Zilla Panchayat Assistant Secretary Jaffer Sharif, who was in-charge of food and water supply, explained the details. “Drinking water was supplied from the filtering units of multi-village schemes in Devi Hosur and Agadi. Pumping of water was speeded up to ensure that a 25,000 litres milk van could be filled in 18 minutes. The venue had 828 sinks for hand wash and over 800 toilets, apart from those used by the VIPs and VVIPs. Different pipelines were laid for supplying water for drinking and sanitation purposes. The waste water was channelised through another set of underground pipelines that emptied the water to a waste water drainage system,’‘ he said.
The Kannada Sahitya Parishat announced in February 2020 that the 86th sammelan was to be held in Haveri. However, it kept getting postponed due to the COVID-19-induced lockdown and other reasons. Finally, it was in the second week of October that it was decided that the sammelana will be held in the first week of January 2023.
“Our officers had about 100 days to work for the sammelan. We sat with all the officers concerned and worked out every small detail. After a few dry runs, it was executed properly,’‘ Mr. Roshan said.
“We are going to reuse all the material and equipment that were used at the sammelan venue,” said the Zilla Panchayat Chief Executive Officer.
“We will fit the hand wash sinks and taps at the District Stadium and government hostels and other public facilities. The pipeline network will be used for the Jal Jivan Mission. They have just been used for 10 days. We are only bearing the cost of excavation which is minimal,’‘ he said.
Nearly all the surface areas of the ground, the main and alternative forums, kitchen and dining area, book stalls and commercial area, and other important places were matted. That ensured that there was no dust.
“The district administration and the Zilla Panchayat team has worked restlessly for months. They faced some challenges initially, but they were overcome as the cross departmental coordination was excellent,’‘ said Satish Kulkarni, writer and sahitya sammelan organising committee member.
“We are happy that the event passed off successfully without hassles. We thank the parishat members and the people of Haveri who attended the sammelan and cooperated with our officers and staff,’‘ Lingayya Hiremath, district sahitya parishat president, said.