SRINAGAR, Sept 15: People in Bijbehara town of South Kashmir’s Anantnag district, are experiencing a water shortage for a long time and accused the administration of being apathetic to the problem.
The water crisis has worsened in recent years, according to locals, who demand immediate action. “There is no water supply for days or the water supplied is so filthy that it is not fit for consumption,” said Bashir Ahmad, a local.
The residents said that they only get water at certain times of the day and that there is no 24-hour water supply anywhere in town. They said that there are days when there is no water at all. “New Colony area was without water for three days last week, but the authorities did not even bother to send a water tanker,” a local said, adding that the water supply fee has nearly tripled in the last few years, but facilities remain below par.
They said that the water they receive is frequently contaminated and unsafe to drink. “The water is so muddy that it has turned our bathrooms and kitchens muddy. You can only imagine what such water does to a human body,” a resident said.
During the rains, he said, the water becomes muddier and stinky, which is a clear indication that “we are receiving water from an open-source with no filtration process at all.”
The authorities have remained unconcerned despite the residents’ repeated complaints. This, according to residents, has been going on for years.
“Some taps were installed throughout the town a few years ago, and we were told that the taps would provide the purest drinking water available. But the taps ran dry after some days and have remained dry ever since,” locals said.
In the meantime, at least 16 households in Srinagar’s Shalimar Colony have been without water for the past two years due to the Jal Shakti Department’s failure to connect them to the main water supply line.
Residents said they have not been connected to the main supply line despite receiving approval from the concerned authorities. They claimed that they had been running from pillar to post for the past two years to get piped water in the area, and that now that approval has been granted, the Jal Shakti department is causing undue delay in the process.
“The pipes that the department procured for the area have been rusting in the PHE office for the last two months. We have no idea why they are taking so long,” Mushtaq Ahamd, a local said.
The lack of piped water in the area has caused enormous hardships for the locals. “We have to use portable pipes to get water from the neighboring locality, and the entire process is backbreaking,” they said, adding that getting water takes up a significant portion of their day.
They said that authorities turned a blind eye to the problem. “We have repeatedly requested authorities to solve the problem but they have been indifferent to us,” locals said.