MALKANGIRI: Villagers of tribal-dominated Malkangiri district are struggling for safe drinking water as 18 piped water supply projects are lying defunct in seven blocks. They are forced to walk a long distance to go to the nearest stream or private tube wells.
Despite the State Government spending a copious amount for water tanks in the region, the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation (RWSS) officials have failed to account for the projects’ stalemate. The problem has led to villagers forced to depend on contaminated pond water and private tube wells for their water requirements.
The conditions worsen in summer and despite tall claims of the Government, the water supply projects have made no headway.
Out of about 11,995 tube wells in the district, 597 are defunct, of which 553 are now functional and 44 more tube wells are still awaiting repair.
Similarly, of 351 piped water supply projects, including spring water supply in the district, 30 were defunct.
Now 12 are functional now after repair. The remaining 18 projects across the seven blocks in the district are non-usable, RWSS office sources said.
Korukonda and Malkangiri blocks are the worst hit areas. Under Korukonda limits, five piped water supply projects are still dysfunctional. Malkangiri block also faces a similar fate.
In Maoist-infested Kalimela block, three projects, followed by two in Khairput, two in Mathili and one in Chitrakonda have remained defunct, depriving villagers of basic amenities.
Likewise, 12 tube wells became defunct in Korukonda followed by nine in Podia, seven each in Chitrakonda and Khairput, four in Kalimela, three in Malkangiri, two in Mathili and one in Chitrakonda block. Interestingly, the water supply project at MV-3 village, about three km from Malkangiri town, lies defunct since long.
Malkangiri RWSS Assistant Engineer Manoj Kumar Nayak attributed the inoperative projects to the poor power supply, depletion of groundwater level and other technical snags. “While two panchayats have faced the problem due to non-payment of electricity bills, we are trying to find out other causes behind non-functional projects and tube wells,” Nayak said, adding that serious efforts are on to make the projects operative.