IMPHAL, April 25 – A high level committee has been formed to look into the water crisis in Manipur on a war footing, State PHE Minister
I Hemochandra has announced.
Y Sanatombi of Maklang village in Imphal West district could not take up cultivation in view of the shortage of water caused by scanty rainfall and soaring heat in the State. “We are struggling a lot to find a water source for our farm and livelihood”, says Sanatombi. Like her, the family of S Sanahal of Heinoubok under Bishnupur district is also facing scarcity of water resulting in failed crops.
Water level of almost all the water supply intake points in Imphal and Iril rivers, the two main water source of the State capital, besides the Singda dam, have gone down drastically due to lack of rainfall since November last year, forcing the Public Health Engineering (PHE) department to close down the major supply lines.
The Greater Imphal area which has more than four lakh population requires around 80 million litres of water daily. However, the PHE could barely meet 50 per cent of the demand. A PHE report said a total of 1,722 habitations (out of 2,870) in the State have been fully covered under its water supply schemes.
Imphalites are getting only about 40 million litres of drinking water from 13 major water supply treatment plants in and around the city. Complicating the water crisis, most of the ponds and other wetlands have vanished over the years with the sudden rise in population and construction activities.
In view of the development, the North East Dialogue Forum (NDFM-Manipur) has urged the government to make available potable water to the general masses. “We are demanding immediate implementation of the State Action Plan on Climate Change into action besides framing the State Water Policy, Forest Policy and Landuse Policy under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples”, said Kh Rebati Raman, member of NEDF-Manipur. “The government should also preserve and protect the water bodies and catchment areas of the State.”
Stating that Manipur is one of the rainiest places in the world, he said the PHE officials should not remain a spectator but consider the water scarcity issue as a natural calamity in the region.
The NEDF member also demamnded that the authorities should not encourage any move to convert water bodies of the State into drains and building of community halls by filling up ponds and other water bodies.
Mangsatabam Babycha of Centre for Science and Environment expressed concern that women and children are affected the most by water crisis.