With the early onset of summer, the hilly tracts as well as the plains of Pathanamthitta are in the grip of acute drinking water scarcity.
The rivers, Pampa, Manimala, Achenkoil and Kakkattar as well as their tributaries are fast drying up in the scorching sun, making many a drinking water supply schemes defunct due to drastic depletion of the water level.
The Malayalappuzha panchayat and Konni and surrounding areas are the worst-hit in the summer heat, making life miserable to the common people.
Potable water has become a precious commodity in the panchayat limits of Malayalappuzha, Konni, Aruvappulam, Thannithode and Pramadom in the hilly tracts.
The hilly areas of Pathanamthitta municipality, Chittar, Seethathode and Ranni are also fast sliding into the drought-hit zone, making life difficult to the people.
Attachakkal village in Konni is another drought-hit area and the local people, including women and children, have staged a dharna before the Kerala Water Authority office in Pathanamthitta, protesting against the inordinate disruption of drinking water supply to the locality.
People of Cheenkalthadom, Vattathara, Valliyani, Elakkulam, Kizhakkupuram, Muttumon, Chathanpadi, Vetoor and Nalloor in the drought-hit Malayalappuzha panchayat have also staged a dharna before the Kerala Water Authority office under the aegis of various political parties.
Local people allege indifference on the part of the Kerala Water Authority in completing the Malayalappuzha Water Supply extension scheme for which the State Government had sanctioned Rs. 2.82 crore way
back in 2004.
Drying up of wells
Many wells situated right on the river banks of Pampa, Manimala and Achenkovil have also been turning dry with the depletion of ground water table due to indiscriminate sand quarrying over the past several years.
Contamination of many fresh water sources with callous dumping of solid and liquid waste from slaughter houses, chicken corners, markets and even from hospitals is another major issue facing the district.
The dumping of waste into fresh water sources have been causing alarming contamination of wells in the vicinity.
People residing right on the river banks have to fetch potable water from distant places due to their wells drying up.
It is alleged that the district administration is yet to take effective steps to address the drinking water needs of the scores of families in the hilly tracts.
Meanwhile, District Collector, S. Lalithambika, told The Hindu that the district administration has sought drought relief fund worth Rs. 50 lakh from the government and will start the supply of drinking water in tanker lorries to the affected areas, after obtaining the mandatory permission for the same soon.
Ms. Lalithambika said a meeting of the people’s representatives would be convened at the collectorate conference hall to discuss the drought situation in different parts of the district on February 24.