Pradip Kumar Das
Ten lakh people in towns are still deprived of supply of piped water
Paucity of funds hits drinking water projectsUrban population in State is 50 lakhs
CUTTACK: With Dola festival over and Holi celebrations on, most of the urban pockets in the State are now likely to witness a parched summer which is predictably going to be hottest. Scarcity of drinking water and diarrhea outbreak in Cuttack, particularly in areas under Cuttack Municipal Corporation (CMC), are threatening to assume serious proportion in days to come.
Even as Orissa Municipal Corporation Act is in force for about four years now and the civic bodies in Cuttack and Bhubaneswar upgraded to corporation status since September 2003, nearly 25 percent (more than 3 lakhs) people in the twin cities still remain uncovered under piped water supply.
With no sign of any improvement in the situation forthcoming, the twin-city residents are set for yet another parched summer. Besides these two cities, a number of urban pockets in the State would also come across dry summer without sufficient potable water.
According to State Urban Ministry sources, out of the present population of around 6.5 lakhs in Cuttack city spread across 48 wards, about 1.64 lakh city dwellers of 13 wards are deprived of piped water supply till date. Similarly out of around 7.5 lakh population in Bhubaneswar, more than 2.50 lakh people settling in newly developed areas and peripheral areas of the capital city remain uncovered by piped water supply.
Due to paucity of funds, no immediate measure could be taken up to improve the drinking water situation in these two cities, said an official of the Ministry.
Apart from Cuttack and Bhubaneswar, most of other urban areas of the State are also likely to face enormous problems in the coming summer. According to sources, about 10 lakh people staying in different urban local bodies (ULBs) are deprived of proper drinking water facilities. While another 30 lakh people are provided potable water through public stand posts only, sources said.
The present urban population of the State is around 50 lakhs spread across in 103 ULBs. Of them only 10 lakh people, including 3.15 lakh in Cuttack and Bhubaneswar, are provided with piped water through house connections, sources added.
Other urban pockets likely to witness parched summer are Rairakhol, Kantabanji, Titilagarh and Berhampur. While more than 60 percent people in Rairakhol town of Sambalpur district are to spend the summer without piped water supply, more than 50 percent inhabitants of Kantabanji and Titlagarh towns are deprived of the same facility, as indicated from the figures available with the government sources.