Delay in canal restoration, PHE employees' strike deepen water crisis across Srinagar

The prolonged delay in restoration of damaged Malshahi Bagh canal in Ganderbal and the strike by PHE employees has aggravated water shortage in thousands of households across Srinagar.

The employees working with the department have been on strike for the past three days over the alleged highhandedness of some officials at Water filtration plant in Alesteng.

The employees today held a protest in the PHE office near Kothibagh here, demanding action against the officials. They have also been holding protests for the past several months demanding regularization.

“Some senior officials at Alestang filtration plant have been harassing our employees on a daily basis. From the past three days we are on the strike demanding action against the officials. Despite working tirelessly, some of the senior officials are treating our employees badly. Although we have not abandoned our work, the continuous strikes over the regularization issue do affect the work on ground. We want the officials to look into our demands,” said Sajad Ahmed Parray, chairman J&K PHE Joint Employees Association.

Residents of several areas of downtown said they were facing acute shortage of water for the past several months. They said the strike by employees has compounded their problem.

 “We don’t get water supply beyond a few hours every day. For the past few weeks the situation has gone from bad to worse. Since December last year we are being told that the breach in the canal will be repaired soon but on the ground nothing has been done so far,” said Nazir Ahmed, a resident of Saida Kadal. Residents of Soura, 90-Feet Road and adjoining areas have also been complaining about shortage of water for months now.

The water shortage started in December last year following the breach in Malshahi bagh canal. The canal supplies water to at least two lakh households in Srinagar.

Chief Engineer, PHE Iftikhar Ahmed said they have put an alternative pipe line to address the water shortage following the breach in the canal and which has helped to a “large extent.”

“The restoration work on canal is going on and by the end of October the problem will be solved. We are putting all our efforts for early resolution of the problem. The issue about the strike of the employees has come to our notice and we are looking into it,” the Chief Engineer said.