Kulgam: A water filtration plant in Sopar-Danew area of Kulgam district, meant to cater drinking water needs of about half a dozen villages has been abandoned midway, forcing villagers to consume contaminated water in absence of a better alternative.
Officials say that diversion of funds to Swach Bharat Abhiyan led to closure of work on the project.
The filtration plant was sanctioned in 2013, after around 80 people in Sopar village had fallen sick after consuming water contaminated by pesticides flowing into their water supply from apple orchards of the vicinity.
The filtration plant was supposed to cater to drinking water needs of Sopar, Danew, Mekinpora, Wazipora, Nai-Basti Bogund and several other villages in the vicinity.
Sources said that the filtration plant was sanctioned under the National Rural Drinking Water Program (NRDWP) and was scheduled to be completed in a year’s time.
“Initially, the work was done on a fast track basis and a building and a water tank was constructed quickly,” sources said. However, after few months of work the project was abandoned and has not been taken up ever since.
Residents of these villages continue to face health risks as they continue to consume water from open sources and pipes laid down more than four decades ago.
“We continue to consume water infected by pesticides, by rodents which have died in the water and other hazardous things,” Shahid Hussain, a resident of Sopar told Kashmir Reader.
Other residents said that water-borne diseases were common in their villages and every day somebody or the other falls ill because of consuming the contaminated water.
“We have been knocking every possible door. Probably the administration is awaiting another outbreak-similar to the one in 2013-to act,” the villagers lamented.
Executive Engineer Public Health Engineering (PHE) Kulgam, Khalil Najar, however said that the project is to be completed by 2018-19.
“Unfortunately the funding on NRDWP was diverted to Swach Bharat Abhiyan, nationwide. That is why the work was stopped,” Najar said.
He said that the work will be resumed soon as the funds now are trickling back for the project.
The villagers, however, might have to consume the same contaminated water for a year or so, thanks to Swach Bharat.