After the media highlighted improper implementation of water supply scheme of the Central government’s Jal Jeevan Mission at Charoichagotlong-I (Phoibut village) in Noney district of Manipur, the Village Water and Sanitation Committee (VWSC) of Phoibut has claimed in a statement that union socket and water pipes were removed intentionally by some individuals.
The Imphal Free Press, on October 31 published a news report of the findings of an inspection team that the construction of the water supply facility under the Jal Jeevan Mission scheme, which was initiated on September 23, 2020, was allegedly executed and mentioned “completed” by a contractor without providing water pipelines to maximum households (beneficiaries of the scheme) in Phoibut village.
The news report pointed out that only three-four households were provided the tap water pipeline facilities while the remaining households were provided only the tap with a concrete stand without any pipeline connectivity.
VWCS chairman Gangmeo Abraham and secretary Machundi Panmei alleged in a clarification issued by them that the union socket and the pipes were “removed intentionally with a malafide intention” by some individuals.
As per the clarification, the union socket and the pipes were found missing during an inspection visit by the members of VWSC and PHED officials, following the publication of the news report.
“We have suspicion that the union socket and the pipes were removed intentionally with a malafide intention prior to the press man visit on the spot so that they can blame the official of the department and the contractor without any reasonable cause,” it mentioned.
It further clarified that the JJM scheme at Phoibut was completed in the year 2021 and the villagers who are living below the water reservoir lever have been enjoying water under the said scheme and the estimated cost of the said contract work was Rs 16 lakh (tendered at Rs 18 lakh) and not Rs 50 lakh as alleged.
Stating that some villagers who are residing near the national highway (above 40 to 50 ft) of the water reservoir which was constructed under the said scheme are not enjoying the water under the said scheme as the water cannot reach their places without engine (pump), it said, water tanks were constructed in the places where the technical staffs of the department pointed out by considering the level of the water to flow into the reservoir from the stream.
It pointed out that the two persons (Karim Phoamel and Dimonilung Kamei) who were included in the news report along with their photograph and alleged to have visited on the spot along with a media team are not the residents of Phoibut.
The two persons in order to obstruct any development programmes to be undertaken by the authority in future made all these false publications by misusing the media, it added.
However, despite the clarification given by the VWSC, the Imphal Free Press stands by its report as its staff reporter had visited and witnessed the ground reality of the village.
The water supply project was said to be completed on March 31 this year, as mentioned on the signboard installed at Phoibut village by the state Public Health Engineering Department (PHED). The water supply works carried out under the Jal Jeevan Mission scheme by one contractor P Gaikhangthai was to benefit as many as 92 households in the village, as a part of the government initiative for rural development.