Bhuban: A drinking water project constructed under Buxi Jagabandhu Assured Water Supply to Habitations (Basudha) at a cost of over Rs 50 lakh is lying nonfunctional at Balibo village under Bhuban block in Dhenkanal district, forcing the villagers to consume contaminated water. All, because of careless digging by a contractor entrusted with a road expansion project.
More than 2000 people living in Balibo, Kesharpur and Nua Balibo villages face perennial drinking water issues. In order to address it, the rural water supply and sanitation department had dug up a bore well in 2012.
From this project, pipes were laid out and water was directly supplied to the standpoints in the villages. Later, to meet the increasing demand, an overhead tank with a capacity of one lakh litres was constructed for which more than Rs 50 lakh was spent in 2017.
After inauguration, supply of water from the project continued till last March when the Works Department carried out a road expansion work and snapped the underground pipes in the process, thanks to the alleged carelessness of the contractors engaged in the job.
Barring the main pipe, all the pipes laid out to the villages were damaged and have been so since then, disrupting water supply.
‘We have been complaining about the problem many a time, but the officials concerned are showing hardly any interest to fix the problem,” alleged some affected villagers of Balibo, Kesharpur and Nua Balibo.
It is a matter of great concern that we are consuming contaminated water even though we have a drinking water project in our area, they rued.
Sarpanch Santosh Kumar Khuntia said, “Panchayat level efforts are on to get the damaged pipes replaced with new ones. A plan has been chalked out to spend Rs 3 lakh from the central fund. But RWSS is taking its time to lay new pipes. Once pipes are laid out, people would get normal water supply.”
RWSS Assistant engineer Sarfaraz Khan held the contractors responsible for the problem, saying they are haphazardly carrying out digging works without informing us, resulting in the pipes getting damaged. A budget of Rs 10 lakh has been prepared for laying fresh pipelines. The issue should soon get sorted, he added.