Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Feb 18:
A whopping 55, 186 villages and 145 wards of urban local bodies (ULBs) of Odisha go without safe drinking water as per the Fourth State Finance Commission of Odisha. The people in these areas are forced to drink untreated water from rivers, ponds, wells and ditches.
The facts are quite startling given the jaundice menace in the state, which usually spreads due to consumption of contaminated water.
As per the report, 20% of the underground water in the state has excessive chloride content, 70% of the water has excessive iron and 2% has excess fluoride. Water from coastal districts of the state is usually brine and foul.
The situation remains grim in 740 villages under 13 blocks of the state such as Bhograi of Balasore district, Bhandaripokhari of Bhadrak, Narasinghpur of Cuttack, Satyabadi of Puri, Saintala and Titilagarh of Bolangir, Champua, Jhumpura and Keonjhar blocks of Keonjhar, Erasama, Balikuda and Nuagaon of Jagatsinghpur and Khariar block of Nuapada district where the water people drink is highly polluted putting the lives of 5, 90, 000 people at risk.
The commission has recommended ensuring piped drinking water supply to these 740 villages from rivers such as Subarnrekha, Baitarani, Mahanadi, Bhargabi, Tel, Kanpur Irregation Project, Debi and Lower Indravati irrigation project on a pririty basis.
The commission has also recommended the government to allocate Rs 591 crores for the above project and another Rs 775 crores to provide two additonal tbe welss to ecah of these villages. The government should earmark and amount of Rs 2, 515 crore for maintenance of these installations over the next five years, it added.
Drawing a clear picture of water supply in the state, the commission in its report said that out of 1,57, 296 inhabited villages of the state, only 1, 02, 110 get drinking water at the rate of 40 litres per head a day. Out of thes, 1, 02, 110 villages, 48, 466 villages get partial water supply. Which means, even though the requirement is 4 or 5 borewells in an area, there are just one or two at present. Many of these existing borewells don’t work either. Only 35233 villages in the state get piped drinking water.
While pointing out at the pathetic drinking water supply condition in urban areas, the commission said that only 552 wards get complete drinking water supply out of 1843 wards under 109 urban bodies. While 1146 wards receive partial water supply, the government has forgotten about the rest 145 wards.
The commission has advised the government to provide Rs 2, 200 crores within next five years to maintain these infrastructures under these urban area administrations where water supply infrastructure already exists and has asked to increase the daily per head consumption quota to 70 litres first and then to 135 litres.
The commission has advised the government to spend Rs 2, 703 crores within the next 10 years to set up water supply facilities in urban areas as per Odisha State Urban Water Supply Policy-2013.