Providing safe drinking water

Even as nature has gifted Kashmir with massive water resources, only 54 percent of rural habitation gets proper drinking water. According to official data, 8535 out of 15798 rural habitations were being provided drinking water at 40-55 litres Per Capita per Day (LPCD). The towns and cities are being provided safe drinking water @70-135 LPCD. The remaining 7263 rural habitations were partially covered with varying supply level of drinking water. Around 3958 Slow Sand/Rapid Sand filtration plants, with conventional technology, are functional in the state. The shortcomings in the system can be reflected by the shortage of filtration plants in the prestigious Pahalgam constituency. Only 17 of 42 plants are functional. The reports from other constituencies are equally disturbing. Official data further reveals that 64 percent of the population is provided drinking water. However, of this only 34 percent get safe drinking water. The results are obvious. Every year outbreak of water borne diseases is reported from rural areas especially in South Kashmir where there is no dearth of water. There are some places where water is supplied after chlorination. According to experts, this is not enough. The people who take such water are always at a risk. This does not mean that the city dwellers get safe water. Protests about quality of water are rampant in the city areas. During the budget session of the legislative assembly, the concerned minister while answering a question said the allotment for revamping of filtration plant at Dachigam was issued and the execution of the work shall be started soon. However, the status of work on the plant is not yet known. Reports suggest that the work has not started on the project yet. The government has to show some seriousness and do the needful. If the people are made to protest for such routine issues, the authorities need to do some introspection. It means they have failed on this front as well. As mentioned earlier, there is no dearth of water in Kashmir. The resources need to be tapped properly and a little filtration, purification can solve the problem.

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