By our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, Feb 8: Vast areas in Guwahati do not get potable and other usable water! These areas are mostly populated by the poor who feel the pinch badly when they have to pay through the nose, for water. As many as 15 years in office in a row at Dispur, does Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi feel the ache in the core of his heart for such a plight of the poor? He, however, seeks votes yet again.
At its meeting held at Durgamandir Filed at Bashishta New Market in the city yesterday, the Mahagar Unyan Samiti, Guwahati (MUSG) said that the water supply schemes in the city were being closed one after another. Representatives from various water supply committees and local residents from various areas were present at the meeting yesterday.
“The city residents who are at the receiving end are the poor ones who don’t have the wherewithal to meet their basic needs. Water is such a basic need which is too important to be without. Such poor people get water, by paying through the nose,” the MUSG said in a statement issued to the press. The Samiti demanded of the government to take the responsibility of running the PHE Department’s water supply projects in the city. These PHE projects, the Samiti said, are being closed one after the other on one or the other pretext. In some areas such PHE water supply projects have been closed for non-payment of power bills, in some others non-payment of any remuneration to the workers engaged in the projects are behind the closure. Yet there are problems like prolonged non-repair on the machines installed, digging up less than the specified depth of projects, lack of funds for running the projects etc., that are reasons behind the closure of such PHE water supply projects.
The worst affected are the low-income group people. According to the Samiti, nobody, not even Dispur, knows when the water supply projects undertaken by the Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) will be completed. Thus, the situation amply means that the State government is not certain till when this uncertainty for water will linger in Guwahati.
Can one expect an immediate solution to the problem from Dispur that has utterly failed to solve the problem in the past 15 years when, according to its own claim, it got much bigger amount of Central funds from the UPA Government than what it is getting at present from the NDA government?
Some of the areas that have to bear the brunt for the scarcity of potable and usable water are Bashishtha, Beltola, Lokhara, Khapara excluding Koi-Dhora, Panjabari, Borbari, rengi, Six Mile, Jyotikochi, Barshapara, AK Dev Path, Kalapahar, etc. This is not all. The problem of iodine and arsenic contamition in water in some areas in the city is well known to Dispur that has so far done little to put an end to the mece that is a serious threat to public health. If this is not an utter failure of Dispur in the public health sector, what else is?
The Samiti said that following pressure from it, the PHE Department did start some water supply centres, but the centres could not be continued long, purportedly due to lack of funds. “There’s no provision for water reservoirs,” the Samiti said.
Samiti demands revitalization of the water supply schemes of the Public Health Engineering Department, besides upgrading some of the schemes where there are thick population, immediate repair of the schemes that have been lying idle due to non-repair, immediate repair of pipes and other installations that have been damaged due to digging activities for various other purposes, Dispur bearing the expenditure for running the water supply projects, regular payment of remuneration to the workers engaged in the water supply projects, absorbing the workers in such schemes as government employees, the GMC taking the responsibility of water supply in places where there are no PHE water supply projects, etc.