SAINTALA (BALANGIR): Even as summer advances and deficit rainfall of last year haunts the villages, people of Saintala block in Balangir district are facing acute water scarcity.
With the State Government neglecting traditional water bodies making it unfit for human consumption and silt reducing its storage capacity, struggle for water has begun in several villages of the block. In many areas, survival of livestock is at stake as villagers are finding it difficult to provide water.
In Lachut village under Kermeli panchayat, two out of five tubewells are lying defunct while dropping groundwater level has made it an arduous task to collect water from functional tubewells. Villagers said instead of pumping out water from these tubewells, it is easier to trek 2.5 km to collect water from river Lanth by digging pits, locally known as ‘Chahala’.
Although the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation (RWSS) had dug a deep borewell near the village for supply of piped water five years back, there is no sight of water to Lachut, inhabited by around 1,000 people even though neighbouring village Banaras is getting some benefit out of it.
The situation in Babukelgaon village, adopted under Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana, in Budhabahal panchayat, is still worse.
The lone water body in the village has been filled with silt and despite approval of its revival in Gram Sabha under MGNREGS, it has not found priority among the policy makers in the district.
Although an overhead tank was constructed in Bargaon village under Bhadra panchayat for piped water supply, water pilferage by damaging pipeline has defeated the purpose. Similarly, the plight of Khasbahal villagers is equally grim.
Even water supply to Saintala village is erratic as the pipes laid to draw water from river Lanth have developed leakages. Water scenario in Tikrapada, Jurabandh, Jhinkidungri, Ambapali, Dungripali and Kandhakelgaon panchayats is also worse.
When contacted, Junior Engineer of the block Prabhat Sethi said there are proposals for laying pipeline in Denga village at an estimated cost of ` 42 lakh and construction of overhead tanks in Tikrapada and Saintala at an estimated cost of `60 lakh and `72 lakh respectively.
Besides, construction of an overhead tank and laying of pipeline in Siskela village at a cost of `85 lakh will be taken up.
Similarly, proposals for setting up of drinking water supply systems in many other villages are pending at the Government level, he added.