Thursday, June 20, 2024

Nothing more than a bucket


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Water: The scarce resource


With the winter approaching fast, the woes of the season have be gun to hit the residents. Several parts of city have already started facing the problem of water scarcity which is stated to turn worse.

It has been reported that there are many localities where people have been forced to purchase water since the water which is being supplied by both the PHE and Shillong Municipal Board (SMB) is not enough.

This problem of water scarcity affects the poorer section of the society for whom; buying water is a serious issue considering the costs.

According to reports, people have been forced to pay between Rs 10 to Rs 20 for two buckets of water. This is definitely not a remedy for something that is used daily and in bigger margins. It is also found that many of the people who are able to afford are purchasing water in bulk to meet their daily requirements.

The only positive that emerges in the current state of affairs is for the people having a water tanker who are in a season of making some good money since there is a huge demand of water in every neighbourhood.

A deeper insight reveals a very interesting picture. The shortfall in the supply of water is because of the leakages in the pipes which are for distribution of water to the various houses in the city. One would be able to see that the leakages in the pipes are a common phenomenon in each and every locality of Shillong.

Leaking pipes have been the justifiable reason for a huge amount of water loss. The sorry state of affairs is that even the concerned departments are aware about the problem of leakages of pipe but sadly nothing is being done to see an immediate step being taken to ensure the repair of pipelines to prevent this huge wastage of water.

Apart from this, majority of the people have expressed their strong resentment over the inability of the Government to supply adequate water for their daily requirement.

“With the increase of the population in the city, the Government is expected to complete the Greater Shillong Water Supply Scheme (GSWSS) Phase III at the earliest to ensure that there uninterrupted water supply,” majority of the residents in the city observed.

The completion of the much anticipated GSWSS Phase III funded under the JNNURM which is expected to address the water scarcity problem is still uncertain.

It has been informed that the PHE department, which is implementing the project, has sought extension after extension from the Government for completion of the GSWSS.

As per the information available, the PHE at least thrice has sought an extension to complete the project since its implementation several months ago.

As per the fresh deadline, the PHE is expected to complete the project by September 2013. Even though the original deadline is June 2012, the PHE had initially sought an extension to complete the project by September 2012.

“In April this year the PHE had sought another extension to complete the project by March 2013. With the department seeking repeated extensions the project is likely to face another delay,” official sources said.

Looking at the manner in which the project is implemented, official sources said that they would not be surprised to see the department seeking another extension after the September 2013 deadline ends.

Earlier, a senior government official said that the project is likely to be delayed since the progress of the work has been relatively slow due to various factors.

The official attributed the reason for the delay to late release of funds for the project by the Union Ministry of Urban Development.

It may be mentioned that recently the Union Ministry had released a total amount of Rs 55 crore as the second installment.

On the present status of the project, a senior government official informed that only 10 % of the survey, engineering, design and laying of the distribution system comprising the 12 zones is completed so far.

He also informed that according to the survey, engineering, design and construction of the two stages of the water pumping system, laying of clear water gravity main and construction of clear water pumping system including laying of main feeder pipes is concerned about 40 percent of the work is complete.

“The overall physical progress of the project is around 78.57 percent,” a senior government official said.

Under this project, the department is targeting to provide household connections to 44,000 households.

It may be mentioned that the third phase of the water supply project, to be constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 193 crore, aims at augmenting the water supply to urban Shillong and its adjoining areas.

(By Lamphrang Nongspung)


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