NUAPADA:At Maoist-hit Sihinamunda village in Jatgarh panchayat under Komna block, women can be seen queuing in front of a lone tubewell at any given point of the day to collect their share of water. The village is located just 30 km away from the district headquarters town of Nuapada.
Inhabited by 1,200 people, majority of them tribals and Dalits, there are eight tubewells in the village. Six of them are lying defunct and one is not being used as it oozes fluoride-laced water.
Fortunately, the only functional tubewell in the village has a filter installed to check impurities. The other source of water is a pond but it hardly has any water.
Villagers said five years back, water of the village was found contaminated with fluoride and the administration had started providing them water through a tanker. Water from a deep borewell in Tarbod was drawn and provided to villagers through the tanker round-the-year.
However, it has been more than six months that water supply was stopped as the tanker met with an accident. No alternative arrangement has been made since then.
Bhajan Hansa, a teacher in the village, said as the area is hilly, sinking tubewell up to 400 metres will yield water.
RWSS Executive Engineer Suresh Chandra Rout said water was being supplied and tubewells were maintained from funds that were sanctioned under Integrated Action Plan (IAP) scheme. However, with the Central Government suspending IAP, there are no funds for both the purposes now. He said as per the 14th Finance Commission, panchayats should cater to water requirements of villagers.
However, Sarpanch Antaram Majhi feigned ignorance about providing drinking water to the villagers. He said he had no idea of available funds for providing potable drinking water to Sihinamunda village.