Every year since 1952, towards August, there has been international focus on this little region on the banks of the Pampa River, on the Alappuzha-Kottayam water transport route.
Still, a repeated complaint voiced by the residents of the Nehru Trophy Ward, hosts to the Nehru Trophy Boat Race, has not attracted any serious attention, which is why women from about 500 families there had to take to the streets on Wednesday, armed with water pots and shouting slogans, demanding pure drinking water.
The Nehru Trophy ward and parts of the adjoining Kainakary panchayat, including areas like Thayyilkayal, Naduthuruthu Kannittakayal and the land encircling the Azhikal padasekharam, all of which fall under the
Alappuzha municipality, have been short of not just drinking water, but water for daily requirements as well, for the last 20 years. A majority of voters in this region boycotted panchayat elections 10 years back, but in vain. Repeated memoranda, petitions and requests too have brought about little change.
The area is accessible mainly by boat, and according to Vimal Roy, convener of the recently constituted Citizens’ Council, people travel all the way to the mainland by boat to bring drinking water in plastic cans and bottles.
“We had met the District Collector a few months back. He issued orders to the Kerala Water Authority to set things right. But till today, our dilemma stands unsolved,” Mr. Roy said.
Pipelines are not in shortage. But lines in working condition and through which KWA water come are in shortage. Projects for water supply to the area too are not in shortage. Only, they have not been implemented effectively, he adds.
The shortage of pure water, since water from the river has been rendered useless and mostly stagnant due to dumping of garbage, has led to regular outbreaks of jaundice, cholera and other diseases. The region also figures in a recent cancer survey with an abnormally high number of cancer cases. Still, proper attention from the authorities have been lacking, the women who staged a dharna in front of the KWA office here said.