People in Kandi belt face water scarcity as over 25 pumping stations out of order

Avtar Bhat
KATHUA, June 25: The PHE Department’s failure to release the payment of private water tankers amounting to Rs 1 crore in Kathua district who in turn have stopped the supply of pottable water on credit basis coupled with breaking down of over 25 pumping stations, the Kandi belt of the district is facing acute scarcity of water at present.
According to sources the breakdown of the pumping stations and refusal of the private tanker operators to supply pottable water has led to water crisis in the Kandi belt of Kathua, Hiranagar and Ghagwal leaving people with no alternative but to resort to demonstrations and protests.
Sources said that even the power failure in various areas has also resulted in water crisis and the irate residents of Rajbagh held a protest demonstration and blocked Jammu –Pathankote National Highway for half an hour this morning against the power failure that also hampered the drinking water supply in various localities.
Sources said Government is totally non serious towards the problem as it has failed to post the Executive Engineer Mechanical Division Kathua and AEE Sub Division Mechanical Hiranagar whose posts are vacant for last four months now.
Expressing his concern over the scarcity of drinking water in Ghagwal villages due to breakdown of pumps, Sarpanch Nonath, Vijay Tajotra said the people in Kandi belt are facing acute scarcity of drinking water due to break down of pumps and power crisis.
He said in his Panchayat four tubewells are non-functional since a fortnight now as they have not been repaired till date. He said despite taking up the issue with the Mechanical Wing of the Department no one heeds as Government till date has failed to post the Executive Engineer PHE Mechanical Kathua as well as AEE PHE Mechanical Hiranagar Sub Division.
Rashpaul Verma a BJP leader from Hiranagar said people in the Kandi belt of Hiranagar and Ghagwal are facing acute scarcity of drinking water but there is no at the helm of affairs to look into the same.
He said the dugwell in New Tapyal is non functional for last three years and the Department has failed to restore the same.
Ashok Jasrotia of Kandi Ekta Manch said that the tubewells and dugwells constructed in the area don’t cater to the needs of the people. He stressed on construction of chakdams which will serve a three pronged purpose. The rain water stored in these chakdams will be used for drinking purposes after proper filtration. It will save erosion of land in Kandi belt and the surplus water could be used for irrigation purposes.
He said in Pacca Koota the tubewell was constructed over a year back but it has not been made functional till date.
Sarpanch Rajpora Bharat Sharma said that the tubewell constructed in his village 50 years back has outlived its utility as it fails to cater to the needs of growing population of the area and also is not functioning properly with the result people face acute shortage of drinking water.
However, Executive Engineer Civil PHE Division Kathua, Vinod Gupta said that out of 335 PHE stations 20 to 30 remain closed due to various reasons from time to time but the department takes immediate steps in restoring them.
He said a pump lying 200 feet below the ground after developing a fault is to be retrieved from there and taken to workshop at Jammu for repairing which takes some time.
Admitting that department has to clear the liabilities of the private tanker operators, he said that this amount has piled up since 2009-10 and the case is with Government. After the funds are released their payments will be made.