Women have no option, but walk miles to fetch a pitcher of not-so-potable water
TIRUPATI: Madanapalle, the largest revenue division in the State, has also earned the dubious distinction of being one of the perennially drought-prone belts.
In fact, the entire north-western tract of Chittoor district has hogged the limelight for decades for all wrong reasons such as starvation deaths, farmer suicides and mass exodus. While the situation is bad in the villages, Madanapalle and Punganur towns are no better in tackling the drinking water woes.
With a population of 1.50 lakh, Madanapalle requires 5 MLD (million litres per day), but the municipality finds it hard-pressed to supply even 3.5 MLD. The town has 113 power borewells, 120 hand pumps and 10,000 tap connections, but is still forced to press 125 water tankers into service to bridge the gap. The civic body has received complaints that nursing homes and hotels are illegally overdrawing water. In Manjunatha colony adjoining the town, the residents still climb down deep wells to fetch water. “Irrespective of the party in power, there has been no change in our lives. I have learnt to live like this since my childhood,” says C. Kondamma, a 30-year old housewife from the adjoining Ramasamudram mandal. She recalls her toil during her early years in an equally-dry Molakalacheruvu mandal abutting Anantapur district, before stepping into her in-laws' place. The womenfolk in the cluster of villages in Ramasamudram, Chowdepalle, Thamballapalle, Peddamandyam and Kurabalakota mandals have no option, but to walk miles to fetch a pitcher of not-so-potable water.
Punganur town has a population of 75,000 and receives 3.5 MLD. The municipality recently sunk 11 borewells, while the local MLA and the Minister for Environment, Peddireddy Ramachandra Reddy, arranged water supply through 11 tankers.
While Pungamma Cheruvu and Subbamma Cheruvu on either side of the town are the major water source, the former had water to its brim last in 1998. Plans are afoot to convert it into a summer storage tank at a cost of Rs.33.33 crore. Another project is to divert water from Gargeya River in the neighbouring Sadum mandal through pipeline to wet the parched Punganur throats. As the foundation stone for the project was laid only last month by Chief Minister K. Rosaiah at Sadum, it is unlikely to take shape soon.