People along the Cauvery still buying drinking water

It is more than two months since the long-awaited Rs.1928-crore Hogenakkal drinking water supply scheme was commissioned for the people of Krishnagiri and Dharmapuri two districts.

But potable water under this scheme, commissioned in May, is yet to benefit a large section of the targeted beneficiaries in the rural areas. Officials have attributed this to pending pipeline works.

Prepared in the light of studies regarding the presence of high level of fluoride in ground water in the districts, the scheme was designed to draw 160 million litres a day from River Cauvery. But the irony is that people in the targeted villages along the banks of the river still buy drinking water for Rs.3 or Rs.4 a pot.

The municipalities of Krishnagiri, Dharmapuri and Hosur and 15 out of 17 town panchayats were being supplied water under the scheme that was aimed at providing water to 33 lakh people. Nearly half of the 6,755 targeted rural habitations are not getting water.

K. Chinnaponnu (58), running an eatery on the banks of the river near the coracle yard at Nagamarai in Pennagaram taluk, says that despite the river water flowing abundantly, it was unfortunate that people in her village were unable to get drinking water through the pipes laid under the scheme.

R. Chinnamma (27) and M. Mala (30) of Eriyur said even the pipes had not been laid completely under the scheme.

A. Anbazhagan, who supplies water, said he brought bore well water from an area not affected by fluoride and supplied it to the residents of Eriyur, Solapadi and High School area for the last six months.

Heavy rain and copious flow in the main water source offers the people in these villages no solution to the water scarcity. In Mangarai, not a drop of water comes out of the 60 taps installed under the scheme.

Mottupatti village, identified as the one with the highest fluoride content in ground water, does not get water under the new scheme, laments G. Kalaimathi.

On the issue of coverage, a senior official in charge of the scheme told The Hindu on Wednesday that against the assured supply of 127 million litres a day (mld), only 80 to 90 mld was being supplied now, but this met the requirement for the local bodies covered under the scheme.

The official said 100 per cent coverage of all areas would be achieved by September 30.

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