The drinking water supply project in Manipur's Tamenglong district amounting to Rs 39.8 crore has failed to meet the public demand for clean drinking water even at the district headquarters.
The drinking water supplied by the PHED (Public Health Engineering Department) reportedly appears yellowish or greenish in colour and gives out foul smell as well.
The PHED has allegedly failed to supply safe drinking water to many residents in town areas despite the promises made to supply clean potable water to every household in the town under the Jal Jeevan Mission.
It may be mentioned that the drinking water project was implemented and the work was executed by Keystone Infra Pvt Ltd.
An independent survey conducted by the Imphal Free Press found out that the main water pipeline, which is supplying untreated water, was found broken and leaking near Gadai hill, which is located about 12 km from the town. The locals expressed that it was leaking for more than a week.
On reaching the dam site at Gadai Hill, filtering works were found left incomplete and only three labourers were found on the spot and no site engineer was there at the spot.
One labourer expressed that the filter and treatment water tank was completely removed and replaced with new material.
The outlet for water not used for treatment is not properly maintained and it may cause major damage to the dam in the near future.
It was found that waste materials from dam construction were left inside the dam on the northern periphery of the dam. Some people were seen loitering inside and outside the dam. No chowkidar or guard is deployed to look after the dam.
It was also found that the construction of a living quarter for chowkidar or security guard was left incomplete. Moreover, jhum cultivation in the catchment area was also found as well.
Speaking to the Imphal Free Press, one social worker Akinsin Gangmei said the problem remains the same since March 2 when the public raised some of these issues to the authority concerned in regard to the non-availability of clean water to the people of Tamenglong.
He explained that the Jal Jeevan Mission (Har Ghar Jal) taken up by the Government of India aims to provide safe drinking water to every household.
“As of now, not even five per cent of the total households are availing the benefits of this mission. It is not that the government did not provide the funds but the multi-crore project taken up by the department/ company/contractor concerned did not utilise the funds wisely in order to deliver the benefits to all sections of the people.”
This is unacceptable and the people will not remain silent for long, he said. “We urged the authorities concerned to take up necessary action against PHED/ Keystone Infra Pvt Ltd for not doing proper work under this project,” Gangmei said.
He appealed to all the people of Tamenglong and urged the government of Manipur not to allow any other projects to be inaugurated until the drinking water project is 100 per cent completed.
“Some projects which were only 70-80 per cent completed were inaugurated. This trend is also a big contribution to the prevalent problems with government funded projects”, he added.
It may be mentioned that Chairmen and Secretary Association Tamenglong had earlier raised the drinking water supply problems during the Meeyam Gee Numit cum Hill Leaders Day organised by the district administration.
The whole populace of Tamenglong getting water supply from PHED remain unhappy and disappointed as the water supplied is yellowish and greenish at other place in colour.
Meanwhile, the United Women Organisation Tamenglong has taken a decision to launch strong agitation over water scarcity, leakage of water tank and pipes and inadequate water supply by PHED.
UMOT secretary Esther Gangmei said water supply condition in the district is poor and the water supplied by the PHED is not fit for consumption. In fact, it might be harmful for the body
She also narrated how the womenfolk faced difficulties, especially during dry and lean seasons in fetching water for the family.
She demanded the authorities concerned to look into the crisis situation seriously. Otherwise, the women organisation Tamenglong will soon launch a series of agitations, she added.
The water supply was given only one or twice a week during the dry season.
However, the Jal Jeevan programme claimed that it will supply every day in a week, she said. She further appealed to the authorities concerned to supply at least three times a week with clean water for drinking purposes.
When the Imphal Free Press contacted the PHED Tamenglong AE Premson, he said that the Gadai dam filter is undergoing repairs and it will be completed and supply clean water in the town soon.
Regarding cultivation in the catchment areas, a report has been sent to the higher authority and action will be taken shortly as well, he said.
Premson also urged the public to have civic sense and not to litter the place with wastes and to prevent deforestation activities in the catchment area of the dam.