Haroonabad town administration has been dumping for about six months sewage water in a canal used by residents of a Chak 72/4-R for irrigation and drinking needs.
Town Municipal Officer Chaudhry Anwar Javed said the administration had been unaware that water from the canal was being used by Chak 72/4-R residents. The TMA estimates their number at 30,000. He said the matter would be referred to the Bahawalnagar district administration so that sewage water could be diverted to another drain.
TMO Javed said the dumping had begun six months ago at the request of the residents of another rural settlement four kilometres away. He said the drain that carried the sewage had earlier passed through that settlement. “The residents complained that stench from the drain had spread all over the village and made it difficult for them to step out of their houses,” he said.
Villagers told The Express Tribune that the contamination of canal water was discovered after several villagers contracted diaerrhea and other water-borne diseases.
Rana Abdul Rehman said 15 to 20 people from the area were being referred to Haroonabad tehsil headquarters (THQ) hospital every week for six months.
He said the canal was the only source of water in the area and was used for both drinking and irrigation purposes. He said farms on about 1,250 acres of land used water from the canal.
Malik Rasheed, a cattle farmer, said animals kept by villagers also drank the same water.
Haroonabad THQ hospital medical superintendent Dr Farooq Ahmed confirmed that a number of villagers from Chak 72/4-R were being referred to the hospital for six months, most of them suffering from diaerrhea.
He said the use of vegetables and crops grown on farms irrigated by such water could be hazardous for health.
The 4-R canal was constructed in 1927 to irrigate the farms in Haroonabad’s suburbs. The canal taking water to Chak 72/4-R was built a year later in 1928.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 4th, 2012.
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