Ludhiana MC project to bolster sewer lines leaves out areas prone to cave-ins amid fund crunch

At a time when major cave-ins have made city roads a nightmare for commuters, the municipal corporation (MC) has approved a project to strengthen the decades-old sewer lines — leakages in which have been cited as the main reason behind the incidents — in certain areas under the Smart City Mission.

While the threat looms over the other areas, even as a major road cave-in incidents have been reported in those areas.

In the recent meeting of the civic body’s finance and contracts committee held on September 17, authorities have approved the proposal to strengthen the brick sewer lines that date back to nearly four decades.

As per the proposal, the trench-less structural lining of brick sewer lines will be taken up at a cost of 82.22 crore in the areas starting from Hero Bakery chowk till Haibowal puli, moving through Kaka marriage palace road. This will also cover Malhar road, being converted into a smart road. Authorities said the roads will not be dug up under the project and work will be carried out using trenchless technology.

Major road cave incidents have been reported at Kaka Marriage Palace road in the past and a truck driver also died in a 2011 incident. Similar incidents have also been reported in Dugri, Model Town Extension, Shastri Nagar, Deep Nagar.

Recalling one such horror, a Model Town extension resident, Karandeep Singh said the cave-ins pose danger to the lives of commuters, adding, “Last year, a truck got stuck in the pit after a road portion caved-in near the cremation ground here. Roads should be safe. If the MC does not have funds to replace the lines, then some technology should be adopted to check leakage in the lines.”

The areas, however, have been left out of the current scope of the project citing fund crunch.

‘A herculean task’

An MC official, requesting anonymity, said the project could prove to be a herculean task for the fund-strapped civic body to replace the sewer lines city-wide as repair work is expensive, adding that several areas need replacement of sewer lines, but the same was not feasible at this point.

Mayor Balkar Sandhu, meanwhile, said the civic body has taken a step in the right direction, adding, “We understand that the lines need to be strengthened or replaced in other parts of the city too, but the MC will move forward in phases as a lot of funds are also required for the project.”