Officials draw flak from Rai for not being prepared for water shortage

While 10 villages in the district are reeling from acute drinking water shortage, many more gram panchayats here have already started reporting drying of taps, officials informed the district in-charge Minister B. Ramanath Rai at a review meeting held on Saturday.

Even the permanent solution touted for the problems seems to have been stuck in a bureaucratic tangle as the proposal for the Multi-village Drinking Water Project submitted by the district administration was “rejected” by the State government. “There were technical faults with the proposal sent, and the estimates were not accepted. The proposal should be revised and sent,” Mr. Rai said.

Out of the 10 villages, five lie in Mangalore taluk – Kemral, Mannabettu, Kinnigoli, Kotekar and Konaje – while the rest are spread over Bantwal and Puttur taluks, said officials, adding that these were being served through water tankers.

“However, we are getting requests from at least eight gram panchayats for water through tankers. Currently, we’re supplying once in two days to these panchayats, but within the month, they will have to be provided tankers,” said an official from Bantwal.

Chastising the officials for not preparing in advance for the dry seasons of May and June, Mr. Rai asked the officials to extend water pipelines, use private borewells and ensure rapid completion of works under the National Rural Water Service Mission.

While the temporary solution would be through water tankers, Zilla Panchayat Chief Executive Officer Thulasi Maddineni said the only solution was through recharging the ground water. “A total of 368 projects are under progress for the recharging ground water,” she said.

‘Politics’

On the allegation of the district unit of BJP who blamed the dereliction of the State government in solving the “water scarcity issue in 42 gram panchayats” in the district, Mr. Rai said the allegations were part of the politics of blame and instigation.

“They (BJP) know that we couldn’t conduct review meetings before due to the enforcement of the model code of conduct. There is no meaning in their allegation. The drying up of wells depends on the weather, and there have been lesser rains this time around,” he said.

Udupi prepared

Meanwhile in Udupi, Deputy Commissioner Muddu Mohan said here on Saturday that all steps were being taken to provide drinking water in water-scarce areas of the district.

In a press release issued here, Mr. Mohan said that the administration had revived many drinking water projects. Tankers were supplying drinking water to some villages. All precautionary measures had been taken to see that water scarcity problem did not go out of hand.

The Assistant Commissioner of Kundapur Sub Division and Tahsildars of the respective taluks had been directed to take immediate action to solve any problem related to drinking water.

The release said the people could contact the following phone numbers if they were facing any drinking water problem. The telephone numbers are: 2574802 (Deputy Commissioner’s Office, Udupi), 2574938 (Zilla Panchayat), 9480023376 (Assistant Commissioner, Kundapur), 9901015387 (Tahsildar, Udupi), 9901790670 (Tahsildar, Karkala), and 9448259312 (Tahsildar, Kundapur).

More In: Mangalore