ITANAGAR: Longding district shares border with Myanmar in the east. However, 60% of the people in the district and 70% of the people settled in the district headquarters in Longding town are facing acute shortage of drinking-water supply. But the fact remains that water supply has been erratic in this district for ages. The situation has remained stagnant since the time it was once a part of the 'Tirap Frontier Agency' and then the 'Tirap Frontier Division' under NEFA (North East Frontier Agency).
Nevertheless, the District PHED (Public Health & Engineering Department) has been making various attempts to provide proper water supply connectivity to each household for years.
Situated on a hilltop, the people settled in Longding district's headquarter is the worst affected due to the water scarcity. The location adds a major challenge for the PHE Department to channelize water connection upwards to the hilltop. So far, the department has succeeded in connecting water supply from the Wakka water storage unit to the Tisssa Camp. Wakka is almost 16 km far from the Longding district headquarter whereas the Tisssa Camp is 12 km away.
But the major challenges lie at foothills where steps have to be undertaken to capture the water and then supply it via pipe connections upwards to Longding town. Though attempts to do so have been made by PHED many times yet the efforts always fail due to the high pressure of the water supplied. It leads to leakage or damage of the low-resistance pipelines.
A major concern of the people living in the district headquarters is to accumulate water for their daily use and consumption.
The only source of water for the people is from the natural streams. But even the streams have very low water capacity.
The monsoon season comes as a big relief for the people here. But during the remaining part of the year, the streams dry up. As a result, the people suffer a lot.
When few people can afford a vehicle and huge water barrels to fill water from the streams, some can be seen rushing or walking kilometers to the nearby streams loaded with plastic bottles and buckets. Every morning you may also find small children, loaded with plastic bottles and buckets marching towards the stream.
"We have to wake up early in the morning and rush to the nearby nullah (streams) to collect water for our domestic usage. However, there are a few days when a water tank reaches the place; but the water stored from it is not sufficient for a single day," rued a woman while filling water in a bucket from a natural stream.
She pointed out, ''There is very less chance that the water tanker will turn up in front of the house. Mostly the water tankers do not turn up; therefore, it has become a routine for us to walk miles to collect water for the family.''
"The situation in the district is not the same throughout the year. As the monsoon approaches, there is enough storage of water which is later filtered and used to meet our daily needs,'' she said with a faint smile.
Longding district Deputy Commissioner Beni Lego also agreed that there is scarcity of water in the district and the district headquarters. He also said that water supplied in water tankers by the PHED does not even meet the need of half of the population in the district.
He said that the major challenge for the district administration is to provide potable water and proper electricity connectivity. And to do so, the PHED and the department of power are working on ground."I am very much hopeful that the people of Longding district will soon have a better potable water supply in days to come," he added.
However, the executive engineer of PHED Tage Nyipa is optimistic that his department will be successful in providing potable water supply to every household by April 10 this month.
Nyipa informed that the department is making all efforts to provide water to the people settled in the district headquarter by this month. He said due to the steep slope and the high water pressure, the department has failed many attempts to direct the water flow to the town.
He said, to solve the problems, the department has hired technical experts from Bangalore and the materials from Israel to fix the problem and thereby fulfill the need of water in the town.
"Due to the steep slope, the Indian made equipment had many a time burst as it could not hold the water pressure. But, as the 90% work is completed now, we hope by April 10 next, we will be able to pull off the task to channelize water supply in the town," said Nyipa.
The PHED department is in effort to stabilize the water pressure from around 2 km away from Tissa camp. The water pressure is so high in this area that three times the pipelines have burst or sometimes there is huge leakage in the joints due to it.
Nyipa informed that the first test of the Israel made pipelines will be tested on April 10 next. If not, simultaneously the next test will be done on April 15, the same month with any need of modification in the work, he added.
The district which was created on September 26, 2011 and was later formally inaugurated on March 19, 2012 by the then Chief Minister Nabam Tuki is now very much hopeful that the suffering of the people due to acute shortage of water supply will be fulfilled by the end of this month.
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