Bizzare situation in Diphu Water Supply

From a Correspondent

(From Sentinel Assam)

DIPHU, Feb 21: Karbi Anglong is a land of rivers and streams, therefore, to say that water scarcities haunt the entire district is laughable if not condemnable. The citizens of the district are not generally aware of how the district PHE is functioning. People in the town, especially Diphu, are having a hard time coping with this menace of water scarcity. The scarcity exists not because of non availability of water but the water available is not safe for anyone to drink. The PHE is constantly failing in its role in providing this basic necessity to its citizens in Diphu town. It is mentionable that Diphu town alone have more than one lakh inhabitants. Out of these one lakh population, only 8,000 citizens are getting proper water supply facilities. While having conversations with one of the staff in the department, he enlightened that the water capacity is poor as compared to previous days. Previously, he said, they use to have fresh machines with high HP to pump the water and can extract required amount of water with ease. Now, the machines have got old and the heavy underground pipes used for supply of water have many leakages which have weakened the required flow of water, he said.

Due to the non reachability of water through the supply system, the residents of Diphu town have to adopt different means to acquire water. They hire vehicles for carrying water from the distribution point. It is fascinating to see how the PHE department has arranged the water delivery point for the proper distribution of water to the entire population of Diphu town. Each day the distribution point get jammed with vehicles. According to the version of the staff, they have daily distribution of around five lakh litres of water in an around Diphu town, each thousand litre cost an amount of Rs 10. The department trucks are charging Rs 240 per trip and it’s a fixed rate, but, the rate may change if the truck has to cover more distance. Auto vans charge Rs 150 per trip, but here too, the rate may change depending on the distance covered. But sadly, only those who can afford to pay can hire these vehicles. Those who own private vehicle are reaping the benefits and earning thousands. One Basumutary, who used to drive a truck for somebody, now, has his own truck bought out by the income he made by selling water. Similarly, there are others like Basumutary who are earning a lot and are becoming affluent in the short span of their career as water supplier.

On the other hand, the former EM of PHE has done little for the upgradation of the proper water facility in Diphu town. Government of India had sanctioned Rs 8.54 crore under NLCPR in the year 2008-09 for the augmentation of Greater Diphu Water Supply Scheme. The amount was disbursed during the tenure of this particular EM. However, the ground reality offers a different picture. No trace of work could be seen anywhere. Unofficial record tallied by one of the staff disclosed that more than 15 crore of rupees have been sanctioned for the augmentation of Greater Diphu Water Supply Scheme under NLCPR. Therefore, it is questionable to those in authority as to where has all the money gone?

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