Manipur has been facing a drought like situation. However, all political parties and public leaders who are still dazed in election hang-over have not been able to pay any attention to the trials and tribulations of the people who have no other source of water except the rain fed rivers. The fire fighters could hardly douse the raging flames since there is no water hole. Houses and shops are burned to cinders whenever there is a fire accident and some persons fatally singed.
Price of bottled water had been hiked by 20 to 30 per cent in the recent past. In the past, private traders who used to deliver “drinking” water to private homes used to charge Rs 100 for 500 litres of water. However three months back it had been increased to Rs 150.
The Public Health Engineering Department Minister Hemochandra Irengbam who used to praise the supplementary role of these private traders is not saying anything although even the elected members and high officials are facing this water shortage.
There have been special arrangements to deliver tanks of water, both treated and raw, to the residences of the elected representatives and high officials. Official sources told The Hindu that the frequency and quantum of such water deliveries had been drastically reduced.
Officials said that the only source of water for the denizens of Imphal and its surrounding areas have been the Iril and the Imphal rivers. Both the rivers are dried up. The private water traders used to draw water from these rivers using pumps from the backwaters.
However, local residents have prevented them from doing so. Since there is no water source, the water supply schemes at Shingda, Porompat had been closed down long time back. Businessmen have been transporting truckloads of bottled water which are in great demand in Manipur since there is no other source.
Health officials fear that there may be an outbreak of water borne diseases at an epidemic scale since many sections of people are consuming contaminated water. Though hotels and eateries supply bottled water at a higher cost, the washing of plates and cooking are done with highly contaminated water.
However, in the post election fever, such public interest issues have been relegated to the background. Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh and other Ministers and officials are not even mentioning the drought like situation in Manipur. Sheepish Public Health Engineering officials say that they are keeping their fingers crossed and advised the people to bear with them till the arrival of monsoon.