Zilla panchayat members said on Tuesday that many areas in Dakshina Kannada are reeling under severe drinking water shortage. In some places, people had to travel up to 2 km to fetch water, they said.

They were participating in a meeting to review the drinking water situation and find ways to mitigate the problem.

The people in some areas were vying with one another to have a share of water. Many schools,were deprived of drinking water. The administration had not done anything to address the problem. According to the members, Ullal, Kotekar, Konaje, Amlamogaru, Sasihitlu, Pavanje, Balila, Nashiya, Nadupadavu, and Mudipu are the worst hit places.

A panchayat member said that in Mudipu, a hand pump had not been installed at a borewell sunk about 15 days ago. In another case, water was not being supplied even after a fortnight of giving the connection.

District in-charge Minister J. Krishna Palemar, who presided over the meeting, said that the administration would immediately sink about 160 borewells.

Deputy Commissioner V. Ponnuraj said that in areas where it was not possible to sink borewells or ensure regular supply through other means, steps should be taken to supply water through tankers. Stating that the special grant of Rs. 1.7 crore was not enough to address the problem, the Minister said that he would try to secure an additional grant of Rs. 2 crore for the district. “There are 3,625 habitations in 268 gram panchayats of the district.” There were complaints from many areas about shortage of drinking water, he said. Earlier, officials from different taluks said that people in 320 of the 1,032 localities in Mangalore were facing water scarcity. Similarly, 118 of the 675 localities in Bantwal taluk, 27 of 47 villages in Puttur, 34 of the 294 habitations in Sullia, and 64 of the 80 villages in Belthangady taluk were facing water shortage, they said. They said that the water in many borewells was not fit for consumption and needed immediate repair. The Deputy Commissioner asked the officials to act quickly and not to tolerate any failure on the part of borewell contractors.

MLAs absent

The Minister and president of the zilla panchayat Santhosh Kumar Bhandari expressed concern over the absence of all the eight MLAs from the district at such a crucial meeting. Although they were heading the task forces in their respective constituencies and aware of the problems, they had failed to attend the meeting, Mr. Palemar said. Members alleged that meetings of the task forces had not been convened for quite some time now.

Following complaints of gram panchayat secretaries trying to escape from their duties under the pretext of attending meetings, the Minister asked the officials to stay put in villages and concentrate on their work. “Otherwise, you have to face the consequences,” he said.

Keywords: Water scarcity

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