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Water Please, Mr CM

IFP Editorial: 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.

ByIFP Bureau

Updated 20 Dec 2022, 12:56 pm

(Representational Image: Unsplash)
(Representational Image: Unsplash)

In 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Jal Jeevan Mission to provide drinking water to all rural households by 2024. The same year, Jal Shakti Abhiyan was also launched to campaign for water conservation and security. In July 2020, Prime Minister NarendraModi laid the foundation stone for a Rs 3,050 crore worth Manipur Water Supply project which would benefit large parts of the state. Early this year, just before the assembly elections, Prime Minister Modi informed the general public that before 2017 only 6 per cent were availing drinking tap water and now 62.19 per cent families are having that facility. But still, the general public is buying water.

Imphal city has been facing a drinking water crisis for the last six-seven months or so. Water is not flowing in the PHED pipes anymore since the last six-seven months and people are buying water from private water tankers at exorbitant rates and no one seems to bother.

Major portions of Imphal city has been facing water scarcity and have had to depend on private water tankers. In fact, private water supply has become a booming business. It is rumoured that some powerful persons are involved in the private water supply business, while on the other hand some enterprising people have started opening private water treatment plants near the rivers.

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.

Then a few days ago, PHED made an announcement that as the Porompat Water Supply has stopped functioning due to low level of water in the Iril River it will not be able to supply potable water in several areas of Imphal East. The notification does not even say when it will resume water supply again in the near future. Normally, the divisions of PHED issues notifications for cessation of water supply in certain areas due to repairs stating a duration of time. It is okay, as supply points and pipes had to be repaired for certain extraneous reasons. But, it does not befit a department charged with supplying potable water to the general public to say that it will not be able to supply water and get away with it.

PHED was bifurcated from the erstwhile PWD for drawing up a sustainable water supply mechanism and a viable drainage system in the state while ensuring 24x7 water supply. Well, we could not wish for 24x7 but at least the people are entitled to supply potable water through the pipeline for a few hours.

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The whole PHED department is entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring and managing water supply and the state is paying the engineers and other employees of the department for that special purpose and they cannot simply get away with a statement that the department would no longer be able to supply drinking water as the rivers had gone dry. It is for the department to plan ahead for the lean season.

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. But now, Imphal city is facing acute scarcity of potable drinking water.

Due to drastic reduction of water level at Singda Dam and drying up of Leimakhong River, which are main sources of raw water, the Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) has notified that normal supply of tap water to consumers will be highly affected.

In spite of this water scarcity in Imphal city, PHED Minister Sushildro is strangely silent. We have been raising the issue of water scarcity so many times. But, no serious effort to avail safe drinking water seems to be on the radar. Like always, we must bring it to the notice of the Chief Minister for ensuring regular supply of drinking water in the pipes.

--Editorial

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Tags:

water supplymanipur governmentdrinking waterwater tapimphal water supplyphedwater crisis in imphal

IFP Bureau

IFP Bureau

IMPHAL, Manipur

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