Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Though the Odisha government had promised to provide clean drinking water to every household across rural and urban areas, many people in the State are still deprived of it. 

With the scorching summer approaching, people in many parts of the State are facing an acute drinking water crisis as many projects under the Basudha scheme are yet to be completed. The residents in many areas have expressed their resentment.

In MV-54 village under Kalimela block in Malkangiri district, residents are dependent on just one tube well.

Somehow they manage with the tube well in rainy and winter seasons. However, they face severe water crisis during summer.

“Political leaders give us many assurances to solve our drinking water crisis during elections. However, they forget their promises as soon as the election is over,” rued a villager.

Apart from the MV-54 village, many other villages under Kalimela block also face drinking water crisis. Though work on drinking water projects was undertaken in 86 gram panchayats with an estimated budget of Rs 1166.38 lakh, the projects are yet to be completed.

As per the Executive Engineer of the Water Supply and Sanitation Division of Malkangiri district, Ritesh Sahu, the projects could not be completed due to delay in receiving the designs.

“All those projects could not be completed due to delay in receiving the designs. The issue has been sorted out. Hopefully, those projects will be completed soon,” said Sahu.

As many as two drinking water projects under Kalimela block and one project under Malkangiri block were to be functional in November 2022. However, all those projects are yet to be completed. Though mega drinking water projects at Korkanada and Chitrakonda have been completed in December 2023, those are yet to be fully functional. A target was set to complete the work of two projects one each in Mathili and Malkangiri blocks and another one in Khairaput block by 2020. However, only 17 per cent of those projects have been completed yet.

Similar is the situation in Kendrapara district. Take the case of Hindulia village under the Marshaghai block in the district. Though pipes have been laid and taps have been set, there is no water supply yet. The only tube well in the village is not sufficient to meet the requirements of eight thousand people in the village. 

“The government is only putting sign boards. However, nothing has been done practically. The administration is only giving us false promises to solve the drinking water crisis in the area. Nothing has materialized yet,” said Prabhakar Swain, a villager.

Work on a mega drinking water project was undertaken in Marshaghai and Mahakalpada blocks under the Basudha scheme at an estimated cost of Rs 230.55 crore in 2018. However, the project is yet to be completed.

Moreover, Rs 70 lakh was been spent to construct an overhead tank and lay pipes in undivided Manikunda and Hatiya gram panchayats in 2014-15. However, the project is yet to be completed.

Meanwhile, Kendrapara Rural Water Supply Department SDO Basant Kumar Sethy assured that water will be supplied to the villagers through the project next week.

“As it is a mega project, the completion has been delayed a bit. I have asked the JE to clean the tank and supply water next week,” said Sethy.