Usage of contaminated water in Manipur’s public and private hospitals has sparked concern among people. Disturbing photographs showing private water suppliers’ — on whom these hospitals depend for water requirements — tankers refilling from dirty public drains have appeared in local newspapers.
Sources said the main water pipe meant for Imphal’s Regional Institute of Medical Sciences — which is under the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare — had dried up decades ago since local residents made numerous holes in it to illegally tap water. Villagers near major rivers are not permitting private water
suppliers to use them fearing water shortage. As a result, these suppliers are delivering contaminated drain water at a high price.
Sometimes, surgeries in these hospitals had been put off due to the unavailability of contaminated raw water. Fearing infection and other deadly diseases, some patients had asked hospital authorities to allow them to buy bottled water, which was turned down by the latter.
In Manipur, all water supply schemes had been closed down some months back due to the lack of water sources. The Public Health Engineering Department had failed to translate into action the ambitious plan to distribute lake water to people. The department had submitted the action plan to the Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh. It said, inter alia, three water tankers shall be pressed into service in each of the 60 Assembly constituencies. Perhaps the Chief Minister is of the view that this will create more problems than solving the existing ones since 3 water tankers cannot supply water to the people of a constituency.
Showers in Manipur in the past few days have perhaps come as a silver lining. However, these are too sporadic to be of any relief to the people.