JAGATSINGHPUR: At a time when the mercury is shooting up, people in more than 100 villages of Tirtol, Kujang, Erasama, Naugaon and Balikuda blocks of Jagatsinghpur district struggle for water. They have been living without access to sufficient water for years. Locals said the crisis had been caused by the non-supply of water to existing tanks, non-repairing of pumps and frequent power failure in the region.
According to sources, thousands of families are being deprived of water as these villagers are yet to be connected to the water supply network. Though the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation department has completed 156 rural piped water supply projects, these are not connected to overhead and small tanks.
Sources said that there are 23 pipe water supply projects in different panchayats of Naugaon block. However, in none of these projects there is a facility to store water in the absence of an overhead tank at the supply point. In such a scenario, villagers face acute crisis of water during emergencies like cyclone, power disruption, etc.
Sarpanch of Korua panchayat Aranya Nayak admitted that there were two water projects in Garei and Dhunapada villages. “The villagers of Dhanikhia, who have been availing water from Garei piped water project, are not getting potable water due to dysfunctional pipeline. Villagers often face water crisis as there is no overhead tank to store water,” he added.
In Dabour panchayat, the pump has been lying defunct for at least a year. Locals claimed that the concerned authorities took no steps to repair it. Thus, people of Mahanapari and Dabour are reeling under the burden of water scarcity. In Tiruna panchayat, piped water scheme has been lying damaged since its inception in 2009, resulting in water crisis in 22 wards.
Villagers of Kusupur, Baramunduli and Anantpur under Balikuda block alleged that pipe water supply projects were not functioning due to non-supply of power by Central Electricity Supply Utility of Odisha (CESU). When contacted, executive engineer, RWSS Chittaranjan Jena passed the buck to panchayats. “Maintenance and repairing of tube wells and pipe water projects is the duty of panchayat. The department has received allegation regarding non- functioning of many pipe water projects in Nuagoan block. We have taken steps to repair it,” he added.