After power, water scarcity hits Valley
People Take To Streets In Protest Against Govt ‘Indifference’
MUKEET AKMALI/SYED IMRAN ALI HAMDANI
Srinagar, Aug 3: With rise in mercury during the ongoing month of Ramadhan, the Kashmir valley is reeling under unprecedented shortage of potable water, resulting in protests in different areas.
The residents of Soura, Khanyar, Nowpora, Bagh-i-Ali Mardan Khan, Fateh Kadal, Nawab Bazar, Malla Bagh, Rangerstop, Khayam and many other areas complained of non- availability of water.
Total potable water requirement of Kashmir is around 12 crore gallons per day, which includes 7 crore gallons in urban areas and 5 crore in rural areas.
For the past few days taps are often running dry in most parts of Srinagar city. From Shivpora to Natipora to Nishat many residential colonies are running short of the supply.
Ghulam Muhammad of Firdousabad Batamaloo said his family has to fetch water from nearby colony as water supply was very poor.
“We don’t even have water for Sehri and Iftaar,” Ghulam Muhammad said while carrying two buckets towards a nearby area to fetch water.
The Batamaloo welfare committee president Abdul Kabir Bhat said the government was forcing people to take to streets. “PHE has already played a joke with us by not resuming work on 150 MM pipeline augmentation plan, pending for two years,” he said adding the locals would soon stage protests.
The residents of Shivpora have been staging roadside protests against the water scarcity in the area. They even blocked the main road. “We are facing acute shortage of drinking water for past two months and the government is acting a mute spectator,” said a protester Khaleel-u-Rehman.
The residents of Gupkar housing colony, in the neighbourhood of villas of government top brass including Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, have similar tales to narrate. Yasir Shah, a local said: “We are craving for drinking water supply while our MLA is least bothered about his constituency.”
Similar are complaints from Natipora area with people saying that taps run dry for most part of the day.
The residents of Government Housing Colony Bagh-e-Mehtab said they get water for mere half-an-hour a day. And those living at the tail-end don’t even get that.
“People of our locality brazenly use water boosters as a result of which those like us living at the dead end don’t get any water at all,” complained Saima, a resident adding they were facing huge inconvenience.
Residents of Malik Sahib Gojwara too have similar complaints. “After power, water is playing hide-and-seek,” said Azad Ahmad Wani, a local resident.
According to reports, in some areas there is not a single drop of water to drink and taps have gone dry.
Shortage of water has triggered resentment against the state government, with people accusing the government of being callous in their approach in dealing with the crisis during the holy month.
“We had plenty of water resources of which Kashmiris used to brag about. But it seems that this coalition government has also outsourced water. We never had witnessed water scarcity in the valley but the government is hell bent on breaking all records of mis-governance,” said protestors at Khanyar.
“It has now become unbearable, earlier it was unscheduled power cuts and now it is water shortage. I have never in my lifetime witnessed such a shortage of water. Residents of our Mohalla had to wait in a long queue near the water taps,” said Ajaz Ahmad, a local resident.
Mosques are also hit by shortage of water, resulting in switching over to other sources of deriving water like installing hand pumps or digging tube wells. But situation in old city is very grim, wherein there is no land available to switch over to these alternative sources.
“We have assigned duty to members of our Masjid committee to store water for the use of people to perform ablution. As throughout the day there is no water available,” said Abdul Majid, a Masjid committee member in old Srinagar.
Schools have also been crying about shortage of water. “Students have to perform ablution as most of them pray during this holy month, but non-availability of water is creating problems for them,” a government school teacher said adding, “Students studying in lower classes don’t find water to drink and have to remain thirsty.”
Situation in rural areas is also worrisome. The residents of Kupwara, Rafiabad and Pattan also complained of scarcity of water.
“We have no water to drink, we are forced to use unhygienic and polluted water from nearby pond, which has created health problems among local populace,” said Umar Ahmad, a resident of Ladoora.
Chief Engineer, PHE, Ghulam Rasool Zargar told Greater Kashmir that there is no water shortage. “However due to dry spell and ongoing holy month of Ramadhan there is tremendous pressure on our water reservoirs.”
“As against the total usage of 7 crore gallons of water, we are providing around 6.30 crore gallons of water in the urban areas,” he said.
Zargar said that people should use water judiciously. “People are using potable water for watering lawns, flowers and for construction. We request them to install hand pumps and use ground water for these purposes. Portable water should be used only for domestic purposes,” he appealed.
“There’s no deficit between the supply and demand of water. City is getting around 70 MGD of water. But the problem is of misuse including use of boosters,” PHE Executive Engineer Shafaat Hussain Qadeemi told Greater Kashmir. He said despite repeated appeals the people were not giving up the water misuse.
“We thought people would give up misuse at least during Ramadhan but they haven’t,” Qadeemi said.
“We will again start a drive to keep check on misuse of water,” he said while appealing the consumers to give up the misuse. “Those found violating norms will be heavily penalized,” the official said.
Lastupdate on : Fri, 3 Aug 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 3 Aug 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 4 Aug 2012 00:00:00 IST
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