GUWAHATI, June 4 - Parts of Guwahati city are reeling under acute shortage of drinking water causing immense hardships to the residents; and officials blame it on frequent power cuts and fund crisis. This has badly hit the government’s house-to-house water supply project during the last few days.
In Guwahati, the house-to-house water supply project is divided into two parts. In one part, the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) supplies water to the public, mainly in the western and central parts of the city, which covers around 30 per cent of the total population.
In the other part, the Jal Board supplies house-to-house water through its pipeline and it covers RG Baruah Road, Rupnagar, Jatia, Kahilipara, Sarumotoria, Rukminigaon and Hengrabari areas of the city.
To cope with the crisis, residents are having to buy drinking water from private suppliers.
Reacting to the present crisis in the water supply process, a GMC official said, “For the past few days, frequent power cuts have immensely affected the water extracting and purifying process. So, in some portions the flow of water has been disrupted. Moreover, recently there was a breakdown of the machinery at the Satpukhuri plant. But we have already fixed the issue. We hope the power cut problem will stop very soon.”
Interestingly, these are the same reasons cited whenever there is a water crisis in the city.
The GMC has altogether three water extracting and supply points at Satpukhuri, Panbazar and Kamakhya.
Meanwhile, an official of the Jal Board informed that both power cuts and fund crisis have affected the Board’s functioning.
“For the last few days, frequent power cuts have affected water supply. Due to lack of adequate funds, we had recently installed a locally-developed water pump, which takes time to restart after a power cut. So the whole process has been affected badly,” the official said.
The Jal Board supplies water to around 7,300 households of the city comprising a population of around 64,000 individuals. Every month the Board earns revenue of around Rs 35 lakh.
“Every month we have to pay around Rs 13 lakh as electricity bill. Moreover, as the State government does not provide any fund to us, we have to manage the maintenance cost and staff’s salary from the money collected as revenue. This fund crisis has been looming for many days now. There is no money to procure high-tech machinery,” he said.
The Jal Board still follows the conventional method to detect any leakage in its pipeline, which is another reason for long disruptions in water supply.
The water supply projects, both in the GMC and the Jal Board remain neglected by the State government, as all are now waiting for completion of the JICA, Asian Development Board and JNNURM-funded Guwahati Water Supply Projects which have been delayed inordinately.