Jaleswar: In summer, a large number of people in many pockets under Jaleswar and Basta blocks have to face acute shortage of drinking water.
This happens as groundwater level plummets sharply, leaving scores of tube wells defunct. The reducing level of groundwater has become a cause of concern for people in this coastal pocket.
Now the government has started an initiative under which small ponds are being dug up at different places to conserve rainwater. Through this process, officials feel that the groundwater level will also be replenished.
A mega drinking water project had also been planned few years back, locals informed. However, the project has since then remained in the ‘planning’ stage with no development.
They said that the state government talks about providing clean and hygienic drinking water. However, when it comes to delivering on its promise, there is sheer indifference.
The failure to start the drinking water project in the two blocks is a proof of the government’s apathy. The cost of building the drinking water project would be around Rs 400 crore.
Once implemented it would provide water from the Subarnarekha river to the households. As per approval of the state and Central governments, an international agency had conducted a survey on the project.
It submitted a detailed project report (DPR) to the Odisha government five years ago. The project aims at meeting the drinking water needs of 3.5 lakh people.
It should be stated here that the majority of people living in 35 panchayats of Jaleswar block and 13 panchayats under Basta block have been facing acute drinking water crisis in summer every year.
In the first phase, a Bangalorebased agency had prepared a DPR for provision of water for 30,000 people in 17 wards under Jaleswar municipality. The cost was estimated at Rs 50 crore.
The report suggested lifting water from Subarnarekha at Sasanabada and setting up of a treatment plant at Sitabaghipada. Two more treatment plants were proposed at Deuli and Nahanjara near the Jaleswar stadium.
The project proposal also envisaged supply of drinking water to 1,00,000 people in 14 panchayats on the western side of the river. Lifting of the water from the river was proposed at Makidia-Kuanrpur.
Another component of the mega drinking water project was to lift river water at Rajghat for 2.5 lakh people living in 21 panchayats under Jaleswar and 14 panchayats under Basta block.
However, till date nothing has moved after the DPR was submitted. The project has been under red tape while people continue to suffer due to lack of drinking water.