Drinking Water Shortage Problem, People Suffer As Link Departments Spar

IMPHAL, Apr 30: Natural and man-made barriers have been cited as factors responsible for the current cri- sis of drinking water shortage in various parts of the State, with the problem most severe in the valley districts, particularly in Imphal areas.

While the main gate at the approach road to Singda Water Supply Scheme is said to have been locked by an armed group thereby preventing full operation of the plant, lack of coordination between the Power Department and Public Health Engineering Department has emerged as another factor for causing inconveniences to the common public.

Interacting with some newspersons at his office chamber today, Additional chief Engineering of PHED Sunil contended that most water supply plants in the State either could not operate to its full potential or re- mains idle on most occasion due to low voltage of power.

Informing that power supply of 380 volt is needed to run an engine at a water supply plant, he said only 360 volt power is being provided by the electricity Department there leading to apprehension that these water supply plants might cease operation permanently.

Stating that engines installed at the water supply plants have been manufactured on an all India scale with compliance to BIS norms, Sunil maintained that the Power Department officials have even been apprised to intimate manufacturing units to make engines commensurate with the voltage supply capacity of State Power Department.

When contacted Power Department’s Chief Engineer N Sarat confided that dedicate line service is being provided to the water supply plants and specula-ted that the voltage inadequacies might be due to distance of the water supply plant from the power supply point (sub-station).

He also opined that there would be no problem in ordering water supply engines that could operate on 360 voltages.

On the other hand, PHED ACE Sunil informed that in the aftermath of reports about water supply shortage in most locations of the Imphal areas an official team of PHED headed for Singda Water Supply Scheme site today.

He also revealed that the PHED team on their way to the Dam site observed the main gate being locked and had to return without completing the task as it was learnt that an armed outfit was responsible for locking the gate.

Drawing attention of the Government on the law and order situation, Sunil opined that due to apprehension and feeling of insecurity the PHED functioning is being hampered.

Singda River today bears a barren look consequently increasing volume of silt deposited at the dam site every passing year.

As long term policy to solve drinking water problem, he suggested afforestation and protecting of trees.

Sunil said widespread destruction of forests, particularly in the catchment areas of important rivers of the State is a crucial factor for the people having to endure shortage of water supply.

Pointing out that inspite of abundant rainfall during monsoons season shortage of drinking water in the lean period has become a familiar problem in the State for the past few years, he strongly suggested that plantation of trees in the catchment areas as well as protection of trees is equally important.

Further informing that people of Tamenglong areas at present are blessed with abundant natural water sources, he highlighted that all available natural sources need to be preserved for sustaining livelihood.

With Shirui (Siroy) range similarly vital for people of Ukhrul district, the Engineer said failure to protect the forest areas might compel massive shifting of settlement areas if not total devastation.

Mentioning that about 17 water supply schemes presently catering to the requirement of Greater Imphal area have been operating for the last 30-40 years old, he said compared to daily requirement of drinking water to the tune of 110 million liters per day (MLD) only 90 MLD could be provided at the juncture at an average.

In addition to need for repairing of these ageing plants pipeline networks criss-crossing Greater Imphal areas will have to be revamped to ease the problem, Sunil opined and added that at an average pilferage and pipe leakage is causing loss of about 30 percent of the supplied water compared to all India average of 10 percent.

On the brighter side, he informed that detailed project report of Rs 654 crores with regard to supply of 80 MLD water from the Maphou Dam has been submitted to the Department of Economic Affairs.

The engineer further informed that a proposal had been sent to Union Urban Development Ministry for laying new water supply pipelines in Imphal areas under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewable Mission approval of which will address problem of water supply for a period of 30 years.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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