BHUBANESWAR: Drinking water crisis during summer months being a perennial problem in major parts of the State and over 400 pipe water supply projects lying defunct, the Government has directed district Collectors to install solar pump sets in areas where power supply is erratic .As low voltage and frequent disruption of power is a common feature in rural areas, the Collectors were advised to identify areas where water is scarce and solar water pumping system could be a viable alternative.
Meanwhile, the rural water supply and sanitation wing of the Panchayati Raj Department has submitted a proposal to the State Government for installation of solar-based dual pump sets in the districts. This will be in addition to the 2645 proposals sanctioned earlier, official sources said.The maximum number of proposals has come from water scarcity prone districts of Balangir, Kalahandi, Koraput, Mayurbahanj and Rayagada districts.
The solar-powered pump sets will be attached to tube-wells where water table goes down drastically during summer. Besides, such pump sets will be installed with storage tank, pipeline and stand-post in remote villages, where it is not feasible to have bore-wells or tube-wells.Even as the State Government claimed to have covered about 34.76 lakh out of 83.75 lakh rural households of 9 western Odisha districts under pipe water supply, reports from these districts said that more 65 per cent of the population is yet to get the benefit.
A report of the department said, 1.56 lakh families out of 3.12 households in Sundargarh district have pipe water connection while the number of beneficiaries are 2.02 lakh out of 3.88 lakh households in Balangir district.As per the government record, about 2 lakh households out of 3.42 lakh rural households have pipe water supply.
Disputing the claim, leader of the BJP Legislature Party KV Singhdeo said those figures are only for government records. Water scarcity is so acute in Bargarh that people of the districts are forced to use contaminated water. This is the reason why Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has drawn the attention of the Chief Minister.The State Government has made a budget provision of `300 crore for drinking water supply under National Rural Drinking Water Programme. The State has utilised about `115 crore till January.