Silchar, April 18: Though the PHE Minister from Barak Valley during his tenure claimed to have covered many urban and rural areas with the facility of safe drinking water, reports from the far and near places give a disappointing picture, raising questions about the very efficacy and objective of the department concerned. There is no specific account of the PHE plants lying inoperative, leaving the people in a lurch. A similar report from the Chandpur part 1, 2 and 3 of the Cachar district speaks of a similar tale.
A general meeting of the residents presided over by the social worker Habibur Rahman Barbhuiya was called on Friday to discuss the problem. At the outset, Nitush Ranjan Laskar of the area said due to the acute shortage of safe drinking water, people of the greater areas of Chandpur are faced with the dilemma as they have no altertive means. The only source for meeting their needs, ponds and tanks have almost dried up caused by the famine like situation, aggravated by the insufficient rains.
The only PHE plant in the area has virtually become inoperative. From this plant, those who are entrusted with its operation supply water for 20 to 25 minutes in a day which can hardly meet the requirements of drinking water. Moreover, in this summer, the requirement for water increases for quite obvious reasons. What is of concern is that there is no mechanism to treat the water. As a result of which, it has been alleged that every day men, women and children after consuming the polluted water are falling sick.
People complain that the water supplied from the plant is so polluted that various kinds of insects and other pollutants come out with it. Despite repeated representations to the departmental authorities, no attention to this health-hazard has been paid till date. Nor has any action to rectify the situation has been taken. A serious allegation that has been brought by the citizens is of diverting the essential chemicals for purification to black market.
Diesel to run the plant and the necessary chemicals like limes and bleaching powders as well as other things needed for water treatment are sold out by those responsible officially for the maintence and magement of the water plant. Maula Zakir Hussain Mazumdar asked “What is the way out for the suffering people? We have no option than to consume polluted water and suffer in the absence of any one to listen to us.”
In deep anguish Golam Azad Barbhuiya said for the last seven months people have to fetch water from distant places, two kms from the villages. They have to go all the way to Dudhpur village and bring the water by cycle, auto rickshaw and even carts. It is unthinkable and unimagible that the PHE workers of the plant should be so corrupt that they have no care or concern for the people totally dependent on the plant and its supply of water.
All in the meeting present wanted to know from Biplob Kumar Goswami, general secretary of Grahak Suraksha Samiti, to suggest how best the problem could be resolved or tackled. The only way to find out a redressal is to unite and raise voice of protest in unison. They should also meet the higher authorities at the district level to rrate their woes and press for supply of safe drinking water. He also assured the residents of his best possible cooperation.