Thursday, October 05, 2006
Up in the air!
That is the St Pauls reservoir pipeline hanging in the air. Down below handful of men construct a temporary bridge to lay the pipes going to Rockville reservoir. The contractors at the site "feel" they can get the latter restored, temporarily, by tomorrow. St Pauls? At least three days. By the speed of progress it could take another week.
The landslide had occured on 24 September. Work started only last Friday. Corenlius Mukhia, the Municipal engineer said it took couple of days for the slip to stabilise before men could go in for restoration. And then some local villagers wanted the job, delaying the start of the work. Furthermore, some people from rival contractors also came to the site to create trouble, alleged the contractor. He was one of Kiran Dong's man. Dongs got everything going for him. To cut the flab out of the story - it took a week to start the job.
And then, during the weekend the workers "disappeared" to celebrate tikka. For two whole days they were gone! "We went to Third Mile to get them here. It was not easy," said the contractor. Even today not all of them had turned up.
Yesterday, they managed to get the plastic pipes, which will be temporarily installed, after writing to Ganesh Pradhan, the truck-lord of Sonada. All trucks were off the road because of the festival; no trucker was allowed on the road - express instructions from Pradhan. The man graciously agreed to allow one truck to ferry the pipes to the site! He deserves a khada from the people of Darjeeling.
When landslides took down the pipes in Gangtok it took three days to fix it. In Darjeeling there is always a lot of time. There is no hurry. And no dearth of excuses.
Residents, including children, collect water in private cars from a spring on Aloobarie Road, 15 minute walk away from Chowrasta!