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4 arrested in Sambalpur over ‘water war’

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau

Sambalpur, Apr 23:

Police today arrested four persons in connection with the violent clash on Tuesday at the PHED office located in Modipada water tank premises over the scarce water supply to Durgapalli-Kanijuri locality in this western Odisha district headquarters town.

The IIC of the Town Police Station Pradip Sahoo said two persons from each side have been arrested and forwarded to the local court as preliminary investigations indicated their complicity in the violence in which five persons including two women were injured.

Further investigations are on he added.

Those arrested are PHED employee Suresh Mukhi, his son Rocky Mukhi, Arta Mishra and Akshaya Patnaik of Kanijuri, said police sources.

Executive Engineer PHED Hadibandhu Behera said piped water supply to the area has been increased by an additional 15 minutes from today by raising the supply time limit from the earlier one hour and fifteen minutes to one hour and thirty minutes after adjusting supplies to other areas.

He said, this apart, water is being supplied to the locality through tankers.

It may mentioned here that a group of women from Durgapalli-Kanijuri accompanied by some youths of their area had come to lodge a complaint at the Modipada PHED office on Tuesday over poor supply of piped water in their locality. They held discussions with the local PHED SDO and other employees following which a decision was taken to supply water to the locality through tankers.

Reports said, a scuffle ensued after the young men from Durgapalli-Kanijuri who had accompanied the women took offence to a PHED employee’s comment that they were water thieves who draw water from the pipeline by using pumps. At this point, the PHED employee sought help from youths in his neighbourhood who came armed with swords and attacked the complainants forcing them to run for their lives.

In the melee five persons including two women were hurt. The situation was brought under control after police arrived at the spot while the attackers managed to flee.