Clean water a far cry for Berhampur residents

Locals fear contaminated water being supplied to them poses threat of diseases
Residents waiting in a queue to collect water from a tanker
Residents waiting in a queue to collect water from a tanker Photo | Express

BERHAMPUR: Residents of Berhampur have been deprived of clean water for the last couple of days.

The water supplied to households in the city from Janibili and Rushikulya projects have turned muddy posing risk of water-borne diseases. The major portion of water which is supplied to households in the city is through Dakhinpur reservoir of the Janibili mega project. What’s worse is that the residents receive water for only around one hour daily. Sources said the pipelines laid from the project to the city passes through drains and have developed cracks allowing drain water to mix with it.

The Public Health department and Berhampur Municipal Corporation (BeMC) had assured to initiate measures for replacing the rusted pipelines but the work not been taken up yet, alleged social worker Sanyasi Gouda.He said the Janibili project constructed by L&T for over `431 crore was inaugurated in 2019 by the then chief minister Naveen Patnaik. But the project is yet to be completed. Till date, several work including laying of pipelines and overhead tanks continues in the city.

So far, L&T has not even issued the completion certificate but the Public Health department is paying for its operation and maintenance for the last three years. Similarly, the 24X7 water supply initiative inaugurated by the former chief minister is yet to become a reality. Gouda alleged the incomplete projects were inaugurated in a hurry.

He further alleged a huge sum was spent on inauguration of Janibili project by BeMC even as L&T was entrusted with the task of constructing it. He claimed to have sought information on the expenditure in 2019. The civic body, in its reply, stated it spent over Rs 42 lakh on the unveiling of the project. “L&T should have hosted the inauguration ceremony. How and why did BeMC spend such a huge amount should be investigated impartially,” he said.

Meanwhile, public health engineer Bikash Padhy said following heavy rains recently, flood water has entered Dakhinpur reservoir resulting in supply of muddy water to households in the city. However, Gouda blamed the mess on poor design and construction of the water treatment plant. He said the state government must be apprised of the issue and a probe conducted into irregularities in implementation of the project.

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The New Indian Express