JAGATSINGHPUR: Even as water crisis in coastal villages of Jagatsinghpur district has assumed alarming proportions, cases of diarrhoea, gastroenteritis and skin infections are on the rise in these areas owing to consumption and use of polluted water from ponds. Kujang, Erasama and Balikuda blocks are the worst hit.
With the rise in mercury level, drinking water has become scarce and people of these three blocks are resorting to digging up ‘chua’ on river and pond banks to collect water. Within a fortnight, the ground water level has receded by two to three metres in the villages and a majority of tube-wells have gone dry. Villagers said they have no other option but to depend on polluted ponds and other water bodies for collecting drinking water and bathing.
Making things worse is the irregular water supply by Public Health and Engineering department (PHD) and Rural Water Supply and Sanitation (RWSS) wing of Rural Development department. Stand posts in many areas do not ooze water and water supply through tankers does not suffice, said Pradip Mohanty of Bharlo village under Kujang block. Similar is the plight of people in Chadradhwajpur, Naliapal, Bibachhapur and Sailo villages of Kujang block.
In fact, Sailo has no piped water supply system and people depend on a water pump, which is located in the nearby Garei village. Women of the village walk down to Garei to collect water every morning.
In Marichpur, Talgaon, Badadia, Balabhadrapur, Kusupur, Bandar, Anantpur, Naharana, Dasbatia, Tertang, Olavar, Allikana, Dua, Ambasala, Apandara, Titira, Nenedra, Nanadabedi, Amarpal of Balikuda block and Bhajakhia, Patua, Suakunda, Ghasua, Patharkanda, Saharkanda, Kadalibari and Belari of Erasama block, tube-wells pump out saline water, which is not fit for consumption. Although a piped water supply system is in place, villagers alleged that water flow is slow and irregular.
Erasama Block Development Officer Subodha Acharya said recently a meeting was conducted with Sarpanch and Panchayat Samiti members of all panchayats of Erasama blocks and it has been decided to supply water through tankers in five water-stressed panchayats of Erasama block. Besides, ‘Jal Chatras’ will be opened in all villages in the three blocks, he added.