Pradeep Pattanayak

Following the outbreak of Cholera in Rourkela, reports of how the BASUDHA and ‘Drink from Tap’ schemes have failed to deliver clean drinking water have started emerging from across Odisha. 

To provide clean drinking water to the residents of Hasimpur village under Baliapal block in Balasore district, an overhead tank was constructed in the village spending lakhs of rupees. It has been two years since the overhead tank construction and pipe-laying works were completed, but the facility is lying unused. Due to alleged substandard work, the tank has developed leakages, rendering it useless. It seems around 300 families in the village have to wait longer to get safe drinking water. 

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“Once the water was lifted to the overhead tank, it couldn’t hold it due to leakages. The consumption of direct water is making people ill as its iron content is very high,” alleged Sukesh Mitra, a resident of Hasimpur village.

The situation at Haladharpur under Pattamundai block of Kendrapara district is no better either. Here, an overhead tank was constructed and pipes were laid out and stand posts were installed 12 years ago. But they are now gathering rust for reasons not known to anyone. Even in this winter season, village women stand in a queue at the only tube well in the village to collect their daily quota of drinking water. 

A resident of Haldharpur, Sanjulata Jena said they have taken up the water problem with admin officials and political leaders but to no avail. “This time, we wouldn’t allow political leaders to visit our village,” rued Sanjulata.
The BASUDHA yojana in the remote areas has also reportedly gone haywire. The plan to provide clean drinking water using solar power to the residents of Gumma village in Rayagada districts has reportedly flopped. For their daily requirement of water, they depend on a lone tube well that dispenses dirty water. 

Fumed villagers have threatened to boycott the election if their drinking water problem is not solved. 

“Sometimes, we spot small insects in the water we collect from the tube well. So we have tied a piece of cloth to filter out the dust and insects,” said Mandodori Khara, a Gumma village resident. 

On the other hand, the dwellers in colonies and slums in Rourkela city received clean water from Sunday only after WATCO carried out repair works in as many as 93 places. 

The Cholera situation in the steel city is said to be still grim. 

“The WATCO teams have so far repaired 93 leakage points. This apart, complaints are immediately addressed and resolved," said Rourkela Municipality Corporation's Commissioner Subhankar Mohapatra.