The tall overhead water tank stands testimony to water supply to Jarli, Kadammal and Kulutguda villages under Rengali block of the district. But a closer look and interaction with villagers depict a different picture.
When Swajaldhara scheme was launched in 2002 by the Centre with a motive to reform drinking water supply in rural areas, it had raised hopes among the people about piped drinking water supply to their homes.
But even after 10 years, the scheme has done little to mitigate the problems of rural people. No different is the case in many neighbouring districts in this part of the State.
It has been two years now that the construction of the overhead tank located near gram panchayat office has been completed, but water is yet to be supplied to Jarli, Kadammal and Kulutguda villages which are covered by the project even as Renloi is benefiting from the project.
It has been a long struggle for the villagers for drinking water which compounds during the summer. Similar is the story in Baradungri village which was supposed to get water supply from the project in Gourpada. Though the project was put to use three years after completion of the pump house with digging of deep borewell, it has been lying defunct soon after it was commissioned. No effort has been made to make it operational with the pump not working.
Likewise in Basupali village, five years after commissioning of the project, the suffering of the villagers is yet to be mitigated.
The water which is supplied here has high iron content and cannot be used for drinking or cooking. As a result, the villagers depend on the only tubewell in the village with two other tubewells failing to pump out water.
Under the community-based scheme, 10 per cent of the estimated capital cost (five per cent in case of SC/ST habitations) is paid by the community. The remaining cost is met by the Central Government and the gram panchayat takes up the operation and maintenance after the scheme is completed.
Though Sarpanch Prakash Behera has been repeatedly drawing the attention of Rural Water Supply and Sanitation (RWSS) authorities, it has failed to move them to cover the three villages.
During last summer, several problems related to drinking water under Swajaldhara project were found in villages of Gumkarama, Ainlamal, Laida and Talabira. But, the project has failed to provide drinking water in the villages except Laida. While the water in Talabira has also high iron content.
Executive Engineer of RWSS, Sambalpur, Suresh Chandra Mahanta said the Block Development Officer should coordinate and ensure that all the projects are functioning and are being maintained.