TODAY -
Acute water scarcity hits parts of city
Source: Hueiyen News Service / Sobhapati Samom

Imphal, November 04 2008: SCARCITY OF potable water hit hard the normal life of nearly 2000 residents of Ngakraba Leirak in the heart of the Imphal town.

Cleaning of vegetables or rice has become a luxury in this locality under Singjamei AC in Manipur's Imphal west district not to speak of washing woolen clothes this winter.

"People here have even started to cook rice without washing it due to unavailability of water in the kitchen," G Randhoni, a housewife of the locality said.

"If we wash, we're compelled to re-use that water again".

Randhoni's entire family has been spending Rs 600 to 700 for every 20 days to buy potable water from the private suppliers.

"We have been buying water since the last one year," the 53 year-old housewife lamented.

This is the story of well-to-do families, but those who cannot afford to buy potable water need to search and fetch water from other localities day and night as the local pond known as Nameirakpam Pukhree has already been dried up.

Expressing unhappiness over the inaction of the state authority in this regard, another old lady and neighbor Laishram Ongbi Tombi (80) opined, "This is not fair, people shouldn't be harassed like this".

Like Randhoni, nearly 500 house-wives of Ngakraba Leirak locality have been facing a lot of problems in their day-to-day life.

Asking how long they can survive on purchased water, many of them want immediate measures from the government's side to solve the water scarcity.

"We can overcome hunger but not thirst," another housewife Sairem Ongbi Memcha (48) observed.

Being a kidney patient, Memcha, who needs to drink an average of 3 litres of safe drinking water everyday, is still struggling to meet the necessity.

Amidst all these, some of the economically backward families of the locality are reported to be unable to use cooking gas as they've spent the amount in buying potable water.

According to G I Sharma, Vice-President of Ngakraba Leirak Development Association, which had spearheaded a public sit-in demonstration against the unavailability of water supply on November 2, the locals have been facing acute water scarcity since March last year.

The construction of sewerage project and expansion of the National Highway in November last have affected the water pipe that supplies water to the locality.

"We may launch agitations in a democratic manner by blocking the Indo-Myanmar road if the authority fails to provide water in our locality by November 15," Sharma warned.

Meanwhile, acknowledging the public outcry, officials of the Public Health Engineering Department (PHED), which handles water supply in the state, promised to do the needful by December next.

"We're planning to start working on it within December," G Joykumar Sharma, Chief Engineer of the PHED told this reporter.

The concerned authority has claimed to have provided drinking water facility in 2873 villages by the end of December 2006 .


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