ROURKELA: Slum dwellers of Gopabandhupali cluster here staged a demonstration on Thursday at the PHD office in Udit Nagar protesting water crisis.
With tubewells lying defunct and open wells drying up, they demanded immediate supply of piped water. The agitators met PHD Executive Engineer Alok Patel over the demand.
While the PHD piped water line was partly extended to the main road at Gopabandhupali, residents of Sonar basti, Anandham basti, Teli basti, Loharpara, Maa Vaishnodevi basti, Anarkali basti and other smaller slum pockets of Gopabandhupali have no access to piped water. Kusum Lugun, a protestor, said 25 well-to-do persons of Gopabandhupali have installed deep borewells and sell water to those who can afford `250 to `350 per month.
Another agitator, Laxmi Devi, said due to these deep borewells, the ground water table has receded to such an extent that a majority of tubewells have been rendered defunct.
Ironically, Rourkela is a water surplus city. The PHD is capable of supplying 47.9 million litres per day (MLD) against the actual need of 39.2 MLD. Yet, it lacks distribution networks to various slum pockets under Rourkela Municipal Corporation (RMC).
As piped water system is yet to reach Gopabandhupali, Timber Colony, Bondamunda, Ruptola and a few other slums, these settlements face intense water scarcity during summer.
A mega project of `78 crore under the Urban Infrastructure Development Scheme for Small and Medium Towns (UIDSSMT) for supply of piped water to uncovered areas would take at least three years to complete.
The PHD Executive Engineer said technical bid for the UIDSSMT project was opened on March 23, while tender for financial bid would be floated in a fortnight. He said work is likely to be started by September with completion period of 30 months.