BERHAMPUR: It’s a double whammy for the people of Rangeilunda block in Ganjam district. While rising temperature has dried up the water sources leading to acute scarcity, non-release of funds for repair of defunct rural water supply projects has compounded the crisis.
The crisis prevails even though the block comes under Gopalpur Assembly segment and is represented by Rural Water Supply and Higher Education Minister Pradeep Panigrahy.
Over two lakh people in 140 villages under 24 panchayats in the block, who are mostly labourers, are now seen spending time collecting water. This has affected their income as well.
According to official records, the block has around 82 water supply projects which includes 30 Swajaladhara and 52 RWSS projects. Of these projects, 42 have been entrusted to village committees concerned while the management of rest are with panchayats.
The projects which were constructed during 2013 in Randha and Chandapur villages at an estimated cost of `14.56 lakh and `6.64 lakh respectively, went defunct soon after inauguration. The one in Ramchandrapur, which was constructed during 2012, is yet to supply water, villagers alleged.
Similarly, the project in Purunakadarpali village remains defunct due to want of power supply. The villagers alleged that power supply to the project was discontinued due to non-payment of dues.
On the other hand, shortage of staff has rendered the Laudigaon project useless.
Around June last year, the Rural Water and Sanitation department had submitted a proposal for release of `2.10 crore towards repair of 36 defunct projects, but the money is yet to be released.
Meanwhile, work on eight new projects has not yet been started due to want of funds. In the absence of any other source, the villagers stand in long queues near tube-wells though those discharge iron and muddy water.