Sand extraction from Uri stream contaminates drinking water supply

Officials of Public Health Engineering (PHE) department on Saturday asked authorities at Flood & Irrigation Control (I&FC) department in this border town to prevent people from extracting sand from nallahs which results in contamination of water supplies.

“We have received complaints that people in Uri town were not getting safe drinking water and on assessing the situation we learned that Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) department was doing some construction work in Nambla village near a nallah where from we supply the water to the town,” said Assistant Executive Engineer PHE, Uri, Nasir Ahmad Wani.

He said later they took the help from police and got the work stopped since sand and mud was getting mixed with drinking water which was later being supplied to people.

“In a communication to the Flood Control department, we have clearly said that nobody should be given permission to extract sand from nallahs or river where from we supply drinking water facility to habitations,” Wani said.

Assistant Executive Engineer, Flood Control department Uri, Bashir Ahmad Shah said they have received the communication from the PHE department.

“We will follow it in letter and spirit. We are also looking into all complaints that we have been receiving,” he said.

However, residents of the main town Uri accused the PHE department of failing to provide the town with safe drinking water for the last one month.

“A local contractor has resorted to extraction of sand from the nallah which results in contamination of water. We are then forced to drink the polluted water,” said Rafiq Ahmad, a local.

Another local, Bashir Ahmad said the PHE department had constructed a filtration plant in Uri town in 2015 to provide safe drinking water to residents. But, he said, the plant was defunct for a week now.