With temperature soaring and no water, residents of Lalapettai village block Ponnai-Ranipet Main Road

The police and revenue officials appealed to the residents and had them disperse; village residents say water has not been supplied to a number of houses for several days now

April 15, 2024 11:31 am | Updated 11:31 am IST - RANIPET

Residents of Lalapettai village near Ranipet town blocked the Ponnai - Ranipet Main Road on Sunday, April 14, 2024, demanding regular supply of water to their village

Residents of Lalapettai village near Ranipet town blocked the Ponnai - Ranipet Main Road on Sunday, April 14, 2024, demanding regular supply of water to their village | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Residents of Lalapettai village near Ranipet town blocked the Ponnai - Ranipet Main Road, which is maintained by the District Rural Development Agency (DRDA), on Sunday, April 14, 2024, demanding the resumption of regular water supply in their neighbourhood. 

Lalapettai comprises nine wards near the Palar river, with 3,500 households. Water supply to households and street corner tanks has not been provided by the local panchayat for some days now -- residents in tail-end areas in wards 2,3, 6, 7 and 8 (of the nine wards) said they had not received water supply for many days.

With the temperature soaring in recent weeks, the residents have had to walk at least 5-10 kms to fetch a few pots of water from Ranipet and Nemili towns. “Most of the residents are farmers and their family members help in farm work. However, lack of water supply has forced women in the village discontinue farm work and travel to get water for domestic purposes,” said B. Shanti, a resident.

Panchayat officials said that the existing water pipelines have been laid from four borewells, which are around 800 ft deep, in the dry river bed to draw water for residents in the village on alternative days. The pipelines cover a distance of five kms. Water from the borewell is pumped to three Over Head Tanks (OHT) in the village every day. Each OHT, on an average, has a capacity of around 30,000 litres. It takes nearly five to six hours to fill each OHT due to the distance of the pipelines. The motor pumpsets that draw water from borewells and fill the OHTs in the village often break down due to their long running time. A shortage of funds has led to the civic body repairing old pump sets rather than buying a new one.

Also, the panchayat officials have been requesting the district administration to allocate funds to construct an additional OHT to store more water for residents especially during summer.

Prior to the announcement of Lok Sabha elections, Minister for Handlooms and Textiles, R. Gandhi, who is also MLA for Ranipet assembly constituency, assured residents that funds would be allotted for additional an OHT to end water problem in the village.

With no response from panchayat officials, residents blocked the key stretch on Sunday. Based on alerts from panchayat officials, revenue officials and Ranipet SIPCOT police led by Inspector K. Parthasarathy rushed to the spot and pacified the residents.

Based on assurance given by authorities to supply water regularly to all areas in the village, residents dispersed peacefully. “Due to rising temperatures, water consumption has gone up. Old pumpsets will be replaced with new ones and efforts to build the OTH will be fast tracked,” said S. Gokulan, president, Lalapettai village panchayat. 

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