SRINAGAR, Jan 22: Although heavy snowfall ended months-long dry spell in Kashmir yet there seems to be no end to the sufferings of residents in the hilly areas of Shopian district where women have to walk several kilometers to fetch portable water.
Residents of areas like Heerpora, Padpawan, Sedav, Katahrkalan and Nadpora as well as of low-lying areas like Bab Mohalla and Turray colony castigated Public Health Engineering (PHE) for their failure to provide potable water at their doorsteps.
“Despite wrapping up our water pipes to save them from icy clutches of freezing weather, our taps are dry. This misery has been inflicted upon us by PHE. We have made several pleas to the concerned officials but these have fallen on their deaf ears,” Ghulam Nabi Turray, a local said of Turray Colony, said.
He said last year Government had planned to increase the capacity of the water reservoir in order to cater for the entire district but misappropriations in the construction crippled the entire move.
The women in Shopian are forced to walk long distances through difficult and hilly terrain to fetch water. “Amid biting cold, I have to walk at least three kilometers to fetch potable water from a stream located in the foothills of a mountain,” said Parveena Akhter. She is among dozens of other women who have to fetch water for cooking and drinking purposes.
Assistant Executive Engineer Shopian, Shuja Showkat, when contacted said in the initial days of winter they faced huge challenges to supply water because of “frost action” but their staff had worked diligently to avert the water crisis.
“Our men and machinery worked hard to provide water and presently we have not been able to provide water to only two places that include Padpawan and Boralan. However other areas are getting water but people have not been able to take care of their taps. What can we do if they have frozen taps? They waste lots of water during the night by keeping their taps on,” he said.
Asked if there was any misappropriation in the repair of water reservoir, the senior official said: “We have been able to increase the water carrying capacity from 7 lakhs to 10 lakh gallons. The only problem in the repair work was we have not been able to repair the surface of the reservoir because of the unrest. In order to not let people suffer during winters, we abandoned the repair work.”