SHOPIAN: Residents of Chitragam-Kalan and its adjoining villages are up in arms against the government because of the long-time lack of drinking water facilities in the area.
Local residents, who on Thursday blocked the Shopian-Bejbehara road, told Kashmir Reader that over 2,000 households in the area are facing water scarcity. Despite hundreds of requests to government officials and political leaders, they said, their problems continued unchecked, leaving them no option than to come out onto the roads.
“Our drinking water problem is not just of months or a year, but we have been demanding a separate water supply scheme for the area for the last seven years,” protester Bilal Ahmad Sheikh told Kashmir Reader.
A group of residents told Kashmir Reader that they were left by the authorities to drink contaminated canal water, which had made many of the villagers fall ill. “Despite our busy days, we are forced to fetch drinking water after travelling huge distances,” a local resident said.
Villagers informed that over 2,000 households in the area have been facing drinking water crisis for many years but who will listen to them, they asked.
Muntazir Ahmad Bhat, a university student from the village, said, “It is an irony that our village has been given Tehsil headquarter and we at this headquarter have no drinking water, “he said.
People from the area accuse the authorities of making many promises to them but not addressing any.
Executive Engineer Public Health Engineering (PHE), Nisar Ahmad Shah told Kashmir Reader that the ongoing work on the road there had lead to the breakdown of services in the area, including of the tanker that brings the village water.
“Tomorrow the supply there will be restarted, and we are looking for a permanent solution to tackle the area’s water crisis,” he said.
A trusted source within the PHE department told Kashmir Reader that the lack of funds in the department had led to several public grievances in the district and the Chitragam water supply scheme was one of them. “Once there would be funds, we can lay a separate scheme for the area,” he maintained.