BALISHANKARA (SUNDARGARH):A group of aggrieved villagers under the banner of Atkosia Adivasi Ekta Manch on Monday raised the issue of drinking water scarcity in remote Balishankara block at the Grievance Cell of Sundargarh Collector.
A majority of the villagers in the block, which shares border with Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, depends on tubewells, a few open wells and natural streams. But the situation has aggravated as level of groundwater has gone down and surface water dried up due to summer.
Manch president Nilima Topno said almost all 16 gram panchayats of the block are facing drinking water problem and the situation in Balishankara, Birkaldihi, Kinjirkela, Kusumura and Tileikani panchayats has assumed acute proportion. The situation is likely to aggravate in coming days, she added.
The villagers said due to rampant digging of bore-wells upto the depth of 500 feet, the existing tubewells are failing to pump out water. As river Ib and water streams have almost dried up, they are left in the lurch.
The Rural Water Supply and Sanitation (RWSS) wing of the administration has laid piped water supply network in a few villages with its several water projects lying defunct for various reasons. The location of the households, which are scattered in distant areas of forest and hilly terrains, is considered as a major bottleneck in ensuring piped water supply.
Housewives Nirmala Barla and Binita Kangadi said it is a daily struggle for them to get a few buckets of water. They said villagers of Telijor, Ghoghar, Bandhbahal, Kaintara, Karuabahal and Kusumura along river Ib trek nearly one km everyday to dig up the dry river bed to collect water.
Sundargarh Zilla Parishad (ZP) president Pitrus Toppo admitted about the problem and said the RWSS has been asked to do the needful to mitigate the suffering of the people. Water supply could be ensured from river Ib to Telijor, Karuabahal, Balishankara and a couple of other villages that have households in compact areas, he said.
After discussion with the villagers, Sundargarh ADM RN Mishra assured them of solving the water crisis in 10 days.