BUDGAM: Hundreds of vehicles were stranded on Srinagar- Gulmarag highway on Tuesday after the villagers blocked the road to protest “acute” drinking water shortage.
Holding banners and buckets the protestors came on roads and held a massive protest against the PHE department.
They said that the people inhabiting the area which falls under the jurisdiction of former chief Minister Omar Abdullah were craving for potable water supply since decades.
They said the Narbal-Magam water supply scheme feeding from the Tangmarg nalas is dysfunctional and that the authorities’ don’t bother to make an alternate arrangement for them.
“We were assured water supply through tanker services but it is infrequent and the supply is much less as compared to our need. Besides, there are some localities where it is not possible to drive the tankers. So these localities have to come out to fetch water in cans and load carriers,” said a protester.
Villages like Narbal Ghat, Bazar Mohalla, Kawoosa, Chinar Colony, Kanihama, Mazhama, and other small hamlets are facing water scarcity past two months, he said.
“Time and again, we had apprised the authorities but still no action was taken. Tanker services were not provided even on scorching heat days”.
It is pertinent to mention that a scheme under NABARD has been devised to cater to the water needs of this badly affected area but it is pending approval from the authorities.
Until its approval, locals are demanding consistent tanker services to these villages.
Protests were called off after the, police, PHE officials assured that locals tanker services was was sent to area latter in the day, however, locals alleged that the water quality of these tankers is not good for consumption and so cannot collect the water.
However Executive Engineer PHE Budgam, Ghulam Ahmad Beigh while talking to Kashmir Reader said the village falls at the tail end of the water supply scheme Kanihama.
The scheme supplies water to almost twelve villages and is not able to supply water to them.
“After several protests in the past too, I brought this issue in the notice of higher ups several times,” he added.
He said that they had submitted a scheme (Chinar colony scheme) for them but till date the work could not be started because of lack of funds”.
Till that time I have asked my staff to augment water supply to the people from Nallah sukhnag.
“Besides this we depute two water tankers in the area everyday that provides them portable water”.
He added “now the funds have been released, and I have assured the people and the officials that the work on the scheme will execute from this week”.