JEYPORE: THE rising heat in the tribal district of Koraput has led to drying up of water bodies and people are virtually scrambling for water even during early summer. Life has been more challenging for the displaced villagers of seven colonies under Kotpad block.
About 3,067 families of Backward Class were displaced in the 1980s from Upper Kolab areas for Upper Kolab Hydro Electric Project and settled in seven colonies in Kotpad block. However, this has not benefited the displaced.
The villagers of colony numbers 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 are reeling under acute shortage of drinking water and are dependent on streams in far off areas to meet their needs. Even basic amenities like a concrete road, health, power and communication are yet to reach the colonies.
The temperature, besides making life miserable, also led to a dip in ground water level rendering several tube-wells useless. Over a thousand villagers are dependent on only one tube-well in the colonies.
Demanding repair of the defunct tubewells and provision of water, villagers had approached the administration recently apprising them of decline in water level. Even the pipelines have gone defunct, adding to their woes.
The potable water from the lone tube-well only meets 10 per cent water demand of the villagers. The villagers travel long distances on foot to fetch water from streams located on the periphery.
Last month, the villagers had appealed to the block authority to ensure supply of water in the rehabilitated colonies well before the harsh summer, but it could not materialise trigging woes among the villagers.
The villagers also met the district Collector seeking a review of water problem in the rehabilitation colonies. Kotpad BDO Ansuman Mohapatra admitted that there was water problem in some rehabilitation colonies due to decline in ground water level in the villages and said, “The Government agencies have dug up tube-wells several times in these colonies but failed as water is not available even at 400 feet.” Water supply through mega schemes would be the only solution of the water problem, he added.
It has come to light that due to massive ‘nilgiri’ plantation in the areas, the ecological condition has been damaged decreasing the ground water level, which creates water shortage.