Updated 9 May 2022, 9:11 pm
Just the other day, the new PHED minister L Sushindro was talking about taking up the second phase of Imphal Sewerage Project to cover the remaining 16 wards of Imphal Municipal Corporation (IMC) as an Externally Aided Project (EAP) under the funding of New Development Bank (NDB). One still remembers the total chaos and dislocation of public life during the first phase of the project and it is still yet to be fully completed with no date of beginning operation in the near future.
The implementation of the first phase was indeed disastrous with engineers and contractors resorting to shortcuts and not complying with standard procedure of digging up roads or of filling up after laying sewerage pipes thereby causing a face-off between PWD and PHED engineers. The contractors were found using the dug-up earth instead of fresh stone pebbles to fill road portions thereby causing depressions every now and then.
The complaint from PWD engineers was also that restoration work is actually their responsibility and if PHED wants to do it they have to adhere to the standard procedure. The public complaint then was mostly of poor quality of work, slow pace and of not providing road diversion while digging up the main roads and lanes. The first phase had taken much more years than it should have. This time, it has to be properly planned and executed according to work code and with due consideration of hindrances it might cause to the general public. We all know that Minister L Sushindro is a man of action and go-getter and we hope the second phase would be implemented in earnest. And if the quality of work is maintained which causes as little hindrance as possible, the public would certainly extend the fullest cooperation.
Well, that was about the sewerage project. Now let us talk about water scarcity in Imphal city and other areas. Water has stopped flowing in the PHED pipes since the last few months or so and people are buying water from private water tankers at exorbitant rates. Major portions of Imphal city have been facing water scarcity and have had to depend on private water tankers. In fact, private water supply has become a booming business.
Some enterprising people have started operating private water treatment plants near the Imphal River, even in the Chief Minister’s own constituency. For those who could afford to buy 10,000 litre at Rs 7,000 and 1,700 litres at Rs 500, it is alright. But to the poor urban families, it has become a major burden with the MLAs turning a blind eye to the woes of the poor who cannot afford to buy water. The VVIPs and VIPs, to whose homes and quarters water is delivered by government water tankers on a regular basis, might have been blind to the acute water scarcity facing Imphal city now. The much touted Jal Jeevan Mission and Jal Shakti Abhiyan still remain a mirage.
BJP leaders had been claiming that before 2017 only 6 per cent were availing drinking tap water and now 62.19 percent families are having that facility. But pipes need water for it to reach the homes. Again the problem is when water comes in the pipes, the push is not enough for the water to reach the water tanks installed at homes without a pump. Practically, every home had to have a water pump without which the water comes in trickling. We still do not know when the Water Treatment Plant at Chingkhei Ching would become operational.
On the other hand, one cannot simply depend on the Iroisemba Water Supply scheme. Now, we are more concerned right now about the acute scarcity of water facing the state. We hope Minister Sushindro would apply his mind to this important issue. With springs and rivers drying up, catchment areas lying in waste and wetlands vanishing, the future is very bleak for the state. Manipur experiences water scarcity due to lack of facilities to harvest rainwater and destruction of catchment areas, as per reports. Manipur has been receiving an annual rainfall of 1,467.5 mm, which is higher than the national average. There are also reports showing that 42 per cent of the natural springs in the hill areas of the state have vanished.
First published:9 May 2022, 9:09 pm
water supplyjal jeevan missionwater scarcitytap water connectionshar ghar jalcatch the rainpotable drinking waterPHED minister L SushindroManipur water scarcity