After months without piped water, they take to the streets

The mounting anger of the people of Prasanth Nagar at Ulloor against the Kerala Water Authority (KWA) for not heeding their demand to restore piped drinking water supply to the locality took the form of a dharna in front of the KWA office at Pongumoodu on Wednesday.

After trying in vain to attract the attention of elected representatives and the top brass of the KWA to their plight, the residents took out a march raising slogans against the authority from the Pongumoodu junction to the KWA office. They then staged a dharna there to condemn the ‘lethargic attitude’ of the authority in addressing the issue.

Nearly 350 people in the housing colony have been without piped drinking water supply for the past several months. They are dependent on the limited water supplied through tankers arranged by the KWA.

Sreenarayana Kurup, president of the Prasanth Nagar Residents Association, said water was brought in tankers and stored in the sump before being pumped into the overhead tank for distribution. The water thus brought was highly inadequate to meet daily needs.

Mr. Kurup said the problem started after the burst in the water transmission line from Aruvikkara to Observatory Hill in the city sometime in March last year. Till then, he said, the locality used to receive uninterrupted supply two times a day.

Since the problem started, they have been knocking at every possible door. “Every time we approach the KWA, they give us an assurance of restoring the supply shortly. This has been going on for the past several months. We are fed up with the assurances, and hence decided to stage the protest,” he said.

Shyamala Soman, a housewife, said the erratic and inadequate supply through tankers had put them to a lot of hardship. “The problem is acute on weekends. When we have guests, we need to buy water to tide over the shortage,” she said.

Antony George, another resident, said the quality of water supplied through tankers was substandard, and they were really scared to use the water. “It’s a highly perplexing situation. Adjacent colonies such as Priyadarshni Nagar and Bapuji Nagar get supply through pipes. There is an allegation that water meant for Prasanth Nagar was diverted to flats,” he said.

Ajish Kumar, KWA Assistant Executive Engineer, Pongumoodu subdivision, however denies the allegation. A minor change in the alignment of the pipelines at Aruvikkara and Observatory made after the burst had hampered the piped supply to Prasanth Nagar, he said. A similar problem existed on Mosque lane at Kesavadasapuram.

Water supply could be restored to the area once the work on the overhead tank at Pongumoodu as part of the Japan International Cooperation Agency-aided project was completed, he said.