Water supplied through open tank to Amma Mandapam is unsafe for consumption, say purohits

With the Cauvery river remaining bone dry for nearly six months now, the water table across the city has fallen sharply.

The gravity of the situation is brought out nowhere better than at Amma Mandapam bathing ghat, right on the river bank, where a borewell is rapidly failing.

The borewell fitted with a hand pump is the only potable water source in the bathing ghat, which is thronged by scores of people every day to perform rituals in memory of their ancestors. Purohits, who conduct the rituals, complain that they are facing a scarcity of water.

The corporation has provided the necessary infrastructure at the bathing ghat including sheds for people and their purohits to perform the annual rites on the death anniversaries of their ancestors. But inadequate drinking water supply is proving to be major problem, complain purohits. Water is also supplied through a water tank on the premises, but the purohits say that the tank is open and hence the water unsafe for consumption.

Over the past 10 to 15 days, the water flows in a trickle from the hand pump that too after repeated pumping for a few minutes.

“On most days the flow dries as the water level goes down. Water could be pumped only for a couple of hours in the morning when the borewell got some water overnight,” says A.S.Thiruvenkatachari, president, Tiruchi Mandala Purohits Association, Srirangam branch. “This is a place visited by scores of people every day for performing rites. Water is essential for them and us. People are now forced to buy drinking water in bottles even to perform the rites,” says V.Jayaraman, a purohit.

Some of the purohits allege that a damaged pipe of the borewell that runs into the ground has been removed by civic officials but not replaced so far. A few others also charged that the water tanks meant for bathing are not being filled up regularly and adequately by the contractor, and often people face problems in getting water for bathing too. “Water is pumped into the tanks only for about a couple of hours and this is not adequate,” another purohit said.

Mr. Thiruvenkatachari, who has represented the matter to the authorities, says that the corporation is earning substantial revenue through the auction of the tonsuring centre and has to provide the necessary amenities required for the people.

Corporation officials point out that a temporary plastic tank has been placed on the road near the bathing ghat and filled with water every day, but the purohits maintain that it is quite far away and suggest that the tank be placed inside the bathing ghat.