RAYAGADA: The Government’s assurance of supplying water to all water-stressed districts of the State falls flat when it comes to Rayagada district. The district has 11 blocks with a population of 10 lakh, mostly tribals. Six lakh of them face water crisis.
While Rural Water Supply and Sanitation (RWSS) looks into water supply in rural areas, it is the Public Health and Engineering Department (PHED) for urban areas. Sources said both the agencies have failed in meeting the water demand in rural and urban areas.
People of 171 panchayats are facing water shortage. A water project at Gunupur NAC was commissioned in 2007 at a cost of `eight crore, but it failed to address the problem. Villagers of Attakana under Kashipur block said they have to walk 1 km to fetch drinking water from a nullah. Although there is a tubewell in the village, it is lying defunct. Similar is the plight of the tubewell in Bada Phukel village. Lamberi village under Kalyansinghpur block has six stand posts for 130 families. None of the facilities are functional. People depend on a small waterbody to collect drinking water.
An amount of `16 lakh under the 14th Central Finance Commission and an additional `five lakh under 4th State Finance Commission were allocated to the 171 panchayats of the district for the current financial year. The finance commissions have directed the administration to utilise 30 per cent of the funds for setting up drinking water projects, but due to lack of coordination among panchayat officials and block authorities, work is yet to start.
The problem is equally grim in urban areas under Rayagada Municipality. Requirement of water in areas under the civic body is 11.55 MLD, but the supply is nine MLD. The PHED has constructed three water tanks and supplies water from Jhanjabati and Nagabali rivers through 22 rig wells, 192 tubewells and 254 stand posts. The arrangement, though, does not suffice.
At present, the population of Rayagada town is one lakh and there are 6,863 legal household water connections, PHED Executive Engineer Naba Kishore Samal said. Illegal water connections are the primary reasons behind water crisis in the town, Samal added. In a special drive recently, 1,200 illegal water connections were detected by the PHED but no action was taken against the accused. Residents of Utkalmani Nagar, Anjiapeta, Kasturi Nagar, DFO Colony, Antariguda, Budurawalasa and areas near Raniguda farm are the worst hit.
RWSS Executive Engineer Niranjan Sahu claimed that there are 438 piped water supply projects along with 11,739 tubewells, 1,320 sanitary wells and 328 solar water projects covering Rayagada district.
Welcome Rain in Balangir
Nayagarh/Balangir: Rain accompanied by strong wind brought the mercury down and at the same time threw normal life out of gear in Nayagarh district on Tuesday. Odagaon block received the maximum 41 mm rainfall followed by Nayagarh block 14.5 mm and 7.5 mm in Ranpur block, according to official sources. Hadia Behera of Jamusahi village in Khuntubandha gram panchayat was injured after he was struck by lightning. Several thatched houses in Odagaon, Nuagaon and Ranpur were damaged. Hailstorm was also reported from Sarankul, Godipada, Darpanarayanpur, Odagaon, Mahipur and Bahadajhola. In Balangir district, rain accompanied by thunderstorm brought relief from the blistering condition on Tuesday.