Government told to prepare action plan to address water scarcity

The Karnataka High Court on Thursday said that the plight of the people living in Pavagada taluk could turn out to be like those who reportedly suffered from the use of endosulfan in Dakshina Kannnada district if the State government continued to ignore their demand for drinking water.

“Have you seen teeth and bones of the people? Their health is severely affected because of flourosis. Do you know how many of them are affected due to fluorosis? You should have taken effective steps on a war footing basis to supply potable water,” a Division Bench comprising Justice K.L. Manjunath and Justice A.V. Chandrashekara told Advocate General Ravivarma Kumar.

Petition

The Bench said this during the hearing of a public interest litigation (PIL) petition, which sought a direction to the Karnataka government to supply drinking water to Pavagada taluk through the pipeline that passes through Pavagada and supplies water from the Tungabhadra reservoir in the State to Andhra Pradesh under the Neelakantapuram Srirami Reddy water project.

The petition said a large number of people in the taluk were suffering from fluorosis due to excessive fluoride content in drinking water supplied from borewells.

Pulling up the State government for failing to prepare an action plan to supply quality drinking water in the last two years, the Bench observed: “We have already noticed what had happened in endosulfan case. This is another type of endosulfan case. The government is only holding meetings and seeking adjournments. If you take another 20 years to implement the schemes, the people in that area will not survive…”. The petition was filed in 2011.

No excess water

Earlier, A. Surdarshan Reddy, Advocate General of Andhra Pradesh, reiterated that there was no excess water drawn from TB reservoir that could be supplied to Pavagada. He cited the shortage of water in Anantpur district, which gets water from TB reservoir through a pipeline passing through Pavagada.

He, however, made it clear that the Andhra Pradesh government was willing to help Karnataka it the latter wanted to install a new pipeline to supply drinking water to Pavagada from the TB reservoir.

Meanwhile, Mr. Kumar said the State government had viewed the problem seriously and devised a scheme to supply 0.55 tmcft of water from the Hemavati to 152 villages of Pavagada.

However, the Bench said implementation of schemes take many years, and orally directed the government to come with an action plan by Friday to supply potable water to Pavagada taluk while adjourning further hearing.

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