Tribal people bear the brunt of power crisis

Several drinking water schemes in the tribal sub-plan mandals in the district have remained defunct due to lack of three-phase power supply.

While erratic power supply is taking a toll on the functioning of the drinking water schemes in some areas, lack of three-phase power supply has become a stumbling block in the operation of the drinking water schemes in several tribal habitations in Chinturu, Kunavaram, and other mandals in the Bhadrachalam agency.

Sources said that the drinking water supply schemes at Gangannametta, Kuyuguru and Veerapuram in Chinturu mandal ceased to function for want of three-phase power connections. The mini-drinking water projects at Kuyuguru and Veerapuram hitherto functioned on single phase power. However, the two schemes have remained underutilised due to lack of power supply in the current summer season.

The drinking water scheme at Gangannametta, the major source of protected drinking water to nearly 200 tribal people, continues to remain out of use due to the same reason. This has aggravated the drinking water problems in the remote tribal habitations.

“The tribal people living in the far flung areas are bearing the brunt of the cascading effect of the power crisis as was evident from impaired functioning of the drinking water schemes in several tribal habitations in the mandal,” said CPI (M) Chinturu mandal secretary Y. Srinivas.

“The hapless tribal people are compelled to trek long distances under sweltering heat wave conditions to fetch water from the streams and other water sources in the neighbouring villages.

The situation would turn from bad to worse in May as the left over water sources are also fast drying up,” he pointed out.

The departments concerned should carryout repairs to the defunct borewells and ensure three-phase power connections to the drinking water schemes on a war footing, he demanded.

We have already paid the requisite amount for sanction of three-phase power connections to the drinking water schemes at Gangannametta, Kuyuguru and Veerapuram habitations, said M. Venkateshwarlu, in-charge Divisional Engineer, Rural Water Supply Department, Bhadrachalam.

When contacted, Mr. Venkateshwarlu told The Hindu that the department is constantly pursuing the matter with the AP Transco officials concerned for provision of power connections to the drinking water projects. Meanwhile, we have carried out repairs to the borewells and made alternative arrangements to ensure drinking water supply to the tribal people of the habitations, he said.