Reported by Santosh Jagdev
Bhubaneswar, Apr 25:
While the mercury level in the city has soared past the 42 degree mark, the Public Health Engineering Department (PHED), the nodal agency in Odisha for the supply of piped water, has failed to address the acute drinking water problems in a number of colonies, slums as also peripheral areas, which are not covered under piped water supply scheme of the city.
This, despite the state government’s claims that every possible step has been taken to provide water in every locality.
A number of slums in Old Town, Isaneswar slum in Niladri Vihar and Mahavir Basti in VSS Nagar are among those which have been left high and dry as far as daily water supply is concerned.
Jharana Swain, a resident of Mahavir Basti said the water supplied by the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) tankers in their area is not available when they need it the most. She says the problem is that the BMC sends large-sized tankers which can not enter their slums. They supply water only on the main road and by the time people walk to that point with their vessels, the tanker is either gone or has too little water for them.
People here also alleged that on some days the tanker reaches after 12 pm noon and they can not wait endlessly for the water under the scorching sun.
“ We have reported our problem to local corporator several times, but all in vain”, a slum dweller said.
In many colonies in the Old Town area such as Bhimtangi, Nageswar Tangi, Sriramnagar, Siba Nagar, Pandab Nagar, Vibekananda Marg, people are facing acute scarcity of water. Water supply here has been badly hit due to low voltage. This affects normal pipe water supply and people who have borewells face problem in drawing water because of low voltage situation throughout the day.
Slum dwellers have to fall back on tube wells but that is hardly of any comfort to them
Peopl in the slums in the Old Town area say the water they get from tube wells is dirty and carries a foul smell.
However, Chief Engineer of Urban Development Department TBK Shorf claimed the drinking water problem in city had been solved to a great extent.
According to him the total water supply requirment in the City, which is estimated at 268 million litres daily (MLD), is being supplied to the people.
10 water tankers have been pressed into service to supply water locations that face scarcity and there are 3187 tube wells and 558 standposts in working conditions to cater to the water needs of the city, Shorf added.
He said piped water is supplied for two hours daily in the morning and evening.
Shorf, however, conceded that timely supply of water to some locations has been affected due to low voltage and power disruptions issues and said his department has written to CESU to solve the power problem as soon as possible.