Rural areas facing acute water shortage

WATER WOES: Residents of a locality in Mangalore line up vessels to collect water from a tanker.

WATER WOES: Residents of a locality in Mangalore line up vessels to collect water from a tanker.  

M. Raghuram

MANGALORE: Even as the district in-charge Minister, Jabbar Khan Honnali, returned to the capital after promising Mangaloreans that drinking water will be provided once in two days, it is the rural areas that are now up in arms for their share of water, where the problem is acute.

A classic case of an evergreen village in the watershed area turning water starved has been reported from Saripalla in Mangalore taluk. When this correspondent visited Saripalla in the Neerumarga Grama Panchayat, the people were planning to launch a movement for water.

The village "Neerumarga" derives its name from the Kannada words Neeru— water and Marga — way, as this village was one of the watershed areas in the taluk. This and the surrounding villages around are now starved for water.

According to the president of the Saripalla Abhivraddhi Samithi, Wilson D'Souza, there are 150 houses in village. About 100 houses were getting water supplied by the Mangalore City Corporation so far, but since the last fortnight, the supply has been stopped abruptly. The rest of the houses were using water from five borewells, which too have gone dry this summer. There is one well in the Harijan Colony, which even today has about 30,000 litres of water a day, but it has to be cleaned as it is in the state of disuse for a long time. Fight for water is a common sight in the village.

The samithi has given representation to the Deputy Commissioner and the local MLA, Krishna Palemar, to restore the supply of 50,000 litres of water a day under the Rajiv Gandhi drinking water scheme. In spite of their directions to the City Corporation, the water is not being supplied. The only hope now was the well in the Harijan Colony which is yet to be cleaned. According to the local resource persons, all the borewell have dried up due to irrational sinking of borewells around the villages.

The villagers are now travelling two to five kilometres towards Kannugudde and Kotimora to fetch water.

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