SONEPUR: Water scarcity in Sonepur is getting worse with each passing day even as two major rivers - Mahanadi and Tel - flow close by the town. In fact, Mahanadi flows 32 kms through Sonepur district.
Although the Public Health and Engineering Department (PHED) has deployed water tankers in worst-hit areas like Agriculture Colony, Shanti Nagar, Ramji Nagar, GRIDCO Colony, Vigilance office locality and Vivekanand Nagar, the arrangement does not suffice. At Patabhadi, Coalpada and Thakuranipada that are located on a higher altitude, piped water supply is very poor.
Water demand of Sonepur town is 3.1 million litres per day (MLD) but the supply is 2.74 MLD. There are 289 tubewells in the town, while PHED claims to supply drinking water through 215 stand posts. Although the PHED claims that all the tubewells are functional, the reality is different at the grassroots.
A drinking water project was envisaged to be developed at Patabhadi and Chief Minister Naveen Pattnaik had laid its foundation stone on February 8, 2013. The plan was to draw water from river Mahanadi and supply it after treatment to Sonepur town. But ground work for the project has not started yet.
Similarly, sinking of nine tubewells was sanctioned by the Sonepur Municipality and councillors of the civic body had approved the sites in Wards 1, 2, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14 and 15. Although the matter was communicated to PHED, work at only five sites has been completed so far. Assistant Engineer of PHED Manoranjan Jena said four more places have been identified for sinking tubewells and work will begin soon.
He said three water tankers of PHED have also been pressed into service to provide drinking water. Each tanker has the capacity to carry 4,000 litres and undertakes five trips daily.
Executive Officer of Sonepur Municipality Tapaswini Guru said the Municipality has also deployed two water tankers. This apart, 10 water kiosks and nine cold drinking water kiosks have been repaired for the floating population and commuters, she informed. Each tanker, also of 4,000 litre capacity, supplies water twice a day.
Besides Sonepur town, people in Tarbha, Binka, Dunguripali, Ulunda, Birmaharajpur and Sonepur Sadar blocks are reeling under water crisis. Water level has gone down which is why tubewells have turned defunct. Water bodies including nullahs have also dried up.