BALANGIR: With every passing day, drinking water scarcity is getting more acute in hundreds of villages of Belpada, Bangomunda and Turekela blocks of the district. It is a familiar sight to see women equipped with a pitcher on the left hand and three other vessels on their heads carrying water from river and ponds.
While the traditional water bodies such as ponds, chahala, kata, munda and bandha are drying up, tubewells fail to meet the water demands of the villagers.
The situation is worse in Khalipathar village of Belpada block where only five tubewells are working to provide water to a population of 3,000. A similar situation prevails in Kapilabhata, Asurla, Mundpadar, Lukapara, Telipadar, Badagamada, Sanagamada, Gandharla, Bhalumunda, Biripali and Manigoan villages in Bangomunda block. The Bhalumunda village, having 600 households, depends on the lone tubewell, while the ponds have dried up. As a result, womenfolk of the village trek miles to collect drinking water.
While Lanth river in Belpara, Arjuni river in Bangomunda, Rahul river in Gudvela, Suktel river in Patnagarh and Loisingha blocks have dried up, tubewells in the villages are lying dysfunctional. Villagers of Chualsukha, Karuanmunda, Badabanki, Ghunesh and Baddokala in Turekela block are also facing water crisis. Similarly, groundwater table in Bangomunda, Lathore, Sindhekela, Saintala and Muribahal is getting depleted day by day.
Locals said even as the month of March is known for its moderate temperature and cool climate across the State, Balangir has started experiencing scorching summer. Residents are going to face a harsh summer this year as the temperature for the past week has been around 40 degrees Celsius. Shortage of drinking water and power cut are adding to the trouble. Executive Engineer of RWSS S C Mahanta said this year the gram panchayats have been empowered to take decisions to deal with water scarcity. However, the block officials will be provided with technical support and monitoring. The defunct tubewells in rural areas will be repaired soon, he added.