Contaminated water with dead fish and snakes has entered Rajasthan through the Indira Gandhi canal from Punjab, prompting authorities to stop drinking water supply from the canal as a precautionary measure.
“Water in the canal is black and red with foul smell, and dead fish and snakes have been spotted in the water. Therefore, its supply to water storage tanks has been stopped,” Vinod Jain, superintendent engineer (additional charge) of the public health and engineering department (PHED), Sriganganagar, told media.
He said the department already has storage of potable water which will be supplied to the public till the contaminated water issue is resolved in a couple of days.
“As the canal water is highly polluted and stinking, we are not supplying it for drinking purpose as a precautionary measure since Sunday. Samples were collected on Sunday and Monday,” he said.
He said drinking water supply to Sriganganagar district is 50,000 kilolitre per day.
In Bikaner too, drinking water supply from the canal has been stopped for the time being, said PHED additional chief engineer B Krishnan.
“We have fresh water storage available with us. The situation is likely to improve in a couple of days,” he said.
Superintendent engineer, PHED (Hanumangarh), Amar Chand Gehlot said water samples collected were being examined locally and have also been dispatched to the state pollution control board in Jaipur for testing.
He also informed that the canal water was not being used for drinking purpose.
A large number of fish were found dead in the Beas on May 17 after molasses from a sugar factory leaked into the river in Punjab’s Beas town, about 40 km from Amritsar.
The contaminated water flown into the Indira Gandhi canal which enters Rajasthan through its Hanumangarh district and traverse and supplies water to Hanumangarh, Sriganganagar, Bikaner, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and other districts in north and western region of the desert state.
On Sunday, Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh has ordered testing and monitoring of canal-based drinking water supply in the southern parts of the state to prevent the spread of contamination triggered by the spill of molasses into the Beas river.