KARNATAKA

Power cuts worsen water scarcity in Hassan district

Staff Correspondent

HASSAN: Though the recent thundershowers provided some relief to residents of some parts of the district, the problem of drinking water is serious in many parts of the district, particularly in Arsikere and Sakleshpur taluks.

According to the Chief Executive Officer of the zilla panchayat, F.R. Jamaadar, 503 villages are facing a drinking water shortage in the district and water sources in as many as 148 villages are not usable due to a high fluoride content. In all 3,927 water sources have dried up, 1,716 borewells with hand pumps are not working, 151 mini water supply schemes are defunct, and 71 piped water supply schemes are not functioning. The zilla panchayat has formed task forces in all eight taluks to tackle the drinking water problem and they have been promised adequate funds to deal with the situation, Mr. Jamaadar said.

Power cuts

However, the main problem for the people is the continuous power cuts by the Chamundeshwari Electricity Supply Company (CHESCOM). Owing to this, pumping water from the functioning borewells has also become difficult.

The Arsikere MLA, A.S. Basavaraj, told The Hindu that the taluk is facing a severe drinking water crisis. Drinking water is being supplied to Arsikere town only once in three days. As the taluk has been classified a grey area, the drilling of borewells is strictly prohibited there. Though the Minister in charge of the district, H.D. Revanna, had directed the administration to sink borewells, it will not solve the problem as groundwater in the area has a high fluoride content. The Deputy Commissioner, K.H. Ashwathanarayana Gowda, and Mr. Jamaadar met the central study team headed by the Joint Secretary for Agriculture and Cooperation, Prem Narayan, recently and apprised him about the problem.

Worst affected

Kanakatte hobli is one of the worst affected regions in the taluk. According to villagers, Kanakattekere, a tank in the taluk, was once the lifeline of the area. It provided drinking water to the entire region and irrigated nearly 800 acres of land in Dibbur, Panchanahalli, Timmapur and other villages. The tank was fed by streams originating in hills 6 km away. However with the indiscriminate felling of trees at Kamasamudra, D.M. Kurke, and J.C. Pura villages, water from the hills brought with them large quantities of black soil causing the accumulation of silt in the tank. Villagers also allege that though the previous Congress Government took up several works under the food-for-work programme, Kanakattekere was not included in the scheme owing to the lack of political patronage. However, according to Mr. Jamaadar, the tank has now been included in the proposal submitted to the Government and the process of removing silt from the tank bed will be taken up soon.

The situation in villages in Sakleshpur taluk is no different. Though Donigal is nestled in the Western Ghats, which receives the highest rainfall in the region, it is also facing a drinking water problem.

The problems of people in Chikka and Dodda Sattigal villages is similar to those in Donigal. A Rs. 2.5-lakh drinking water project was sanctioned in these villages eight years ago, but the project was shelved midway. According to villagers, a water supply project was sanctioned in 1995 and completed in 1996. Borewells were sunk and motors installed. However, just before the scheme was to start functioning, the land on which the well was sunk was mired in a controversy and the project was shelved.

Recommended for you