Kulgam, Aug 12: Several villages of the South Kashmir's Kulgam district including Drangabal, Laisoo, Qaimoh are facing an acute scarcity of drinking water. The residents claim they are forced to take contaminated drinking water and the concerned department pays no heed to their genuine grievances.
Drangbal village has been facing the water shortage for many years now and despite having taken up the issue at different levels the issue is not redressed, say locals.
Adv Sarfaraz, a local of Drangbal told Rising Kashmir, “Initially we used to get water supply via Chek-I-Samad Rather village, but when the construction of that village road started the pipes were damaged and disappeared since then,” he said, adding the current scheme too is defunct.
This year Drangbal village has been sanctioned a new water supply scheme “C R Pora Line” but Sarfaraz says, we failed to understand why isn't work starting.
Residents of village Laisoo of Tehsil DH Pora raise similar issues. Although they are supplied the water but in absence of a filtration plant the water isn't fit for drinking.
Ishfaq Rashid, a local of Laisoo said, “We have no option but to drink contaminated water that directly comes from Veshaw nallah without any filtration." It is becoming the cause of many water-borne diseases in the village.
Besides Drangbal, other villages like Gandwani, Khuri Bata Pora and Avil in the Damhal Hanji Pora subdivision too face acute water crises.
Owais Qadir, an Advocate by profession expressing shock as to how these villages are deprived of basic amenities like water says access to drinking water is a fundamental right and govt. is under constitutional obligation to provide safe drinking water to its citizens.
In Qaimoh village, where Owais Qadir lives, the water tank was constructed about 10 years ago but, ironically he says, water could not be made available to the public, due to the sheer negligence of the Jal Shakti Department, Kulgam.
Mismanagement is also contributing to the deprivation of water to certain villages: Avil villagers say the water supply which was previously catering to this village has been given to some other village which forces them to drink water from nearby nallah.
Saddam Mir, a local of Avil village said, “We fetch water from the nearby Nallah and drink the same. The supply to the area is defunct and the concerned department hardly pays heed." We have connected a pipe now into nallah and supply the same to a whole village which put the health of residents at risk,” he adds.
An official of the Jal Shakti Department while accepting that these areas do not receive the required water supply said the department is making every effort to address the issue.
The official attributes water shortage to old schemes and hopes that under Jal Jeevan Mission the problem will solve.
“Khuri Bata Pora's water supply project has been put to tender and its work will start soon. Yes, the village's current water requirements are not being met, we have listed it under Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM)”, he said.
“The tender is also open for the village of Drangbal, for which we have not yet received a response. Additionally, we have listed a proposal in "Back to the Village" – its line will be connected to another line for a temporary base. However, this issue will get complete redressal only under JJM,” he claimed.