SRINAGAR – With summer just about to begin the people in summer capital Srinagar are already anguished with routine water scarcity.
A source inside Public Health Engineering (PHE) department Rajbagh said that for the last more than two months, more than two lakh people are without water supply as government has failed to fix the breach in Malshai Bagh canal in Central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district.
He added that Malshai Bagh canal, which supplies water to three treatment plants– Rangil, Shuhama and Alasteng — caters to over two lakh people in the Srinagar outskirts. “The water canal developed breach in the first week of December. Two months passed, breach is yet to be fixed.”
Inhabitants of various city areas complained of water scarcity. The areas facing water shortage include Soura, Anchar, Elahi Bagh, Gulab Bagh, Nowshera, Lal Bazar, Alasteng, Shuhama, Habak, Zukra, Batpora, Hazratbal, Saderbal, Saida Kadal, Kashmir University, National Institute of Technology (NIT), and more.
Pertinently, last month, Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Baseer Ahmad Khan also directed concerned engineers to speed up restoration work on Malshahi- Bagh canal before February 15. However, the given deadline is already over.
Wazeera Banoo, a local of Saida Kadal said that people in the area have to fetch water from one kilometer to get a drinking water. “During harsh winter, it was very difficult to fetch drinking water from nearby area which is a kilometer away from our house,” she said.
Begum added women of the area face countless problems and government has “failed to resolve their water issues”.
Another local Tasleema Jan, a resident of Elahi Bagh Soura said severe shortage of drinking water during peak of winter season has forced them to drink polluted water.
“We often used to collect snow in buckets and wait for it to melt and then use water. Often we were consuming polluted water for other purposes, due to which diseases have increased in the area. Dozens of people are suffering from cough, common cold and fever,” she said.
Jan said people are concerned with the health conditions in the area, and the government’s negligence has made them vulnerable to various diseases.
People also lamented, despite they have made repeated pleas to the authorities but “things remained unchanged on the ground.”
“We knocked doors of PHE department. They assured to resolve the problem soon but nothing happened,” they said.
Adding although officials assured special water tankers for the areas but authorities rarely visit these areas.
“How can one tanker of water be sufficient for seven hundred households,” locals questioned.
They now demand concerned authorities for speedy restoration of the work so that they will not suffer any more.
A senior official at the Public Health Engineering Department (PHE) office in Raj Bagh noted that the breach portion has been fixed, but the water flow is inadequate yet to meet the demand of people. “Department has almost placed four pipes to bypass the breach but still the water supply and demand does not meet yet,” he said.
It is not the first time that water canals in Central Kashmir’s Ganderbal have suffered breach. In 2018 the residents of Beehama and Malshia Bagh complained of living in panic after embankment of Beehama canal turned weak.
Sources said the canal supplies water to Rangil water treatment plant. The treatment plant supplies portable water to Srinagar and breach in any canal has affected water supply to Srinagar and leading to portable water crisis in Srinagar city.(KNT)