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Throats Running Dry At Potsangbam

IMPHAL, Feb 1: People residing in Imphal and its vicinity are facing acute drinking water problem, particularly in Imphal East district. In the case of Potsangbam village, some 12 km north of Imphal located along the National Highway 39, a sense of heightened anxiety and hopelessness is palpable in the moisture-deficient air of the winter as the villagers grapple with the paucity of portable water in and around the rural community.

Let alone the prospect of locating drinking water, the habitat is in short supply of day-to-day utility water as well.

Water scarcity is not confined to urban dwellings alone here. It is equally a rural phenomenon. The plight of the people of Potsangbam is a case in point.

Speaking to Waikhom Shyam of NNN, RK Nimaichand, a retired teacher and a resident of the village rued that during the last one decade, well water (spring water) in and around the dwelling space has slowly desiccated.

He reasoned, as is popularly believed in the area, that the factor for the desiccation of the areas around the village may be because of the sinking river bed. ‘The river bed has plunged deeper than water level in the wells thereby draining away the water from the wells to the river. This is particularly so with the increased digging and collecting of river sands for use in commercial constructions in Imphal.’

Earlier the villagers employed bamboo pipes to haul water from the water supply reservoir for used in cooking and drinking which has also dehydrated of late.

With a population of about three thousand, Potsangbam village was once a fertile land with riots of color fluttering across the landscape filled with a bountiful vegetation of mustard flowers (Hang-gam Yella). As it is, the soil has now meta-morphosized into hard solid rock for want of water, which is why the endemic mustard, a local delicacy, has withered away almost into oblivion.

Left with no choice, the villagers, rich and poor, have now resorted to buying water from tankers at Rs. 200 per 1000. lt which hardly lasts for a week. A lone hand pump near the village draws up a bucket of dripping water with drudgery. Imphal River which is a little too far a distance from the village could only be clocked one trip in a day on a bicycle.

To add to their woes, the water supply scheme near the bank of the Imphal River has remained defunct for quite sometime now, but not before causing an irreparable damage to the water bed. ‘The fact that water was drawn from deep layers of the ground when trying to locate water might have caused the water to dry up,’ he said.

‘Before the Greater Imphal water supply scheme came, all the wells in the village had sufficient water beyond their needs, now the wells have collapsed and are parched to the trickle,’ Nimaichand said.

The Greater Imphal water supply, which is the only means of getting portable water for the villagers, is not in a position to supply sufficient water due to irregular electricity supply. The electric supply which is claimed to be a VIP line is allegedly erratic.  Even when the light is on, the motor pump in the plant does not run properly. It is now lying almost in a state of defunct.

According to the peon of the water supply plant, the problem could be addressed not by restoring the electric supply alone, but also depends on the need to upgrade the machinery of the plant and on installing proper ‘loaded power’, without which the motor is as good as a piece of idle iron piece.

‘Officials of PHED have submitted their findings the matter is now considered by high level authority,’ the peon said.

‘It has become hard for the people to live at Potsangbam. As a citizen of the State, we request the Govt to make power accessible to the people, to provide schemes for digging and construction of well in the area’, he appealed.

*Source: Newmai News Network

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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