No concrete plan to tackle the situation

With only a few days left for summer to commence, the Chittoor district headquarters town is in the grip of a severe water crisis despite the deployment of over a hundred water tankers.

Chittoor town, which was recently given corporation status, is without a definite plan to meet the water requirements of over 2 lakh people.

The drying up of the NTR reservoir at Kaluvagunta near Chittoor several years ago, forced the people of Chittoor to be completely dependent on groundwater and water tankers. Growing construction activity and scanty rainfall for prolonged time periods also led to a sharp fall in the groundwater table.

In addition to the water tankers operated by civic authorities, a number of tankers are being run by private persons as well. Of the 50 divisions under the corporation, barring a dozen, all other divisions are bereft of bore wells.

Though giant bore wells were dug in select locations, not all areas were covered.

Since a couple of weeks, scores of water tankers crisscross the streets of the town, round the clock.

Residents of upland areas in the town like Mittur, Kondamitta and Girimpeta are forced to purchase water at Rs. 3 per vessel. Apart from drinking water needs, each family in vulnerable areas has to shell out a whopping Rs. 1,000 a month to procure water for domestic needs.

Civic officials admit that they are not even able to meet 30 per cent of the water requirement in the town.

Local leaders of various political parties operate free water tankers in slum areas and this helps ease the situation somewhat.

Though former Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy had recently launched the Rs. 7,000 crore water project for Chittoor district, covering Chittoor town, and a major chunk of funds were released, denizens and the officialdom have their own reservations over the works, which are yet to start, in view of the prevailing political conditions.