Wednesday, February 21, 2018
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water crises

I was shocked to learn from a complainant who informed me on phone on Wednesday morning that when he made a complaint to Jal Sansthan that he had not been getting any water for the last several days, the man at the other end said, ‘You give your complaint in writing. We will then work on it’ Other departments  announce the phone numbers of ‘Helplines’ and people are asked to register their complaints and they would be attended to.

And here is Jal Sansthan acting in such a callous and indifferent manner! Why? Is it because they want somehow the matters to be delayed? Water is the most essential item and to give such a callous reply amounts to the murder of all hopes of the public who have the impression that in this electronic era they need not rush all the way to a public office to register a complaint. Nowadays several departments have eased the people’s work by allowing online payment of bills to escape the harassment of delays that they had to suffer at counters where, in several cases,  the lazy and lethargic clerks would first have a cup of tea and then come to the desk.
The Jal Saansthan is living in an archaic age. Those manning it have failed to listen to the cry of the people in distress on account of the denial of water for no fault of theirs. The Jalsansthan authorities, who have been evading work and delaying matters should be hauled up. I know if any complainant were to go to their office to submit his grievance in writing, the reply in most cases that he may get is: ‘The Babu handling complaints is on leave today. Come tomorrow’. I am saying this because such things have happened with many people in the past.
The Jal Sansthan should immediately announce ‘Helpline’ Numbers. The Commissioner or the DM should intervene if the senior officials of the department have no inclination or guts to set things right. One may live without food for some days. But how can one do without water for days on end? Once the Helpline numbers are announced, the consolation will be that people’s complaints would be heard—assuming that the receiver of the telephone is not placed off the hook or the mobile switched off  by the heartless, callous, lazy staff who just do not bother to listen to any one unless the complaint is submitted in writing.
But not all in Jal Sanshtan are like that. Some do respond. In one case the person on the line told a complainant that they would get water in two or three days. This was done. In another case a complainant was told: ‘I will meet the JE concerned to put up the complaint of your area’. Whether he did so or not is another matter. The fact that he responded courteously was praiseworthy. The taps might have nevertheless remained dry. But the consolation was there that someone had responded. But in the first case that I began with, it was not  Jal Sanstahan speaking but callousness speaking. Will the Jal Sansthan become more people friendly? If it cannot give us water, can’t it say some polite words to soften the blow? After all people are not begging water in charity. They are paying for it—paying for pure, clean   water but instead receiving foul, dirty, stinking water. They should be on the defensive. Mr Commissioner, will you intervene?

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