SHOPIAN: While majority of people in this south Kashmir district are getting muddy water connection, the water of a major spring in Heff and Kashav village goes waste as it is not utilised by the PHE department for drinking purpose.
Locally know as Nilnag, the spring is situated in the orchard area surrounded by Chinars and other trees, and has capacity to fetch water for over 40 villages. Due to non-utilisation of this spring water, the whole area is worst hit.
Locals complain that the government is not utilising the spring which has pure water and enough capacity to cover huge area for drinking water facilities.
“The drinking water problem throughout the year forces us to use contaminated water of canals and streams,” Javid Ahmad, a local of Chitragam said.
The people from Heff, Shirmal, Chitragam, Kashav and other adjoining villages demand that this spring be used for tap water facilities in the area.
Abdul Gaffar, an elderly person, said the contaminated water often results in breakout of diseases and epidemics in the area. “Over 600 cases of hepatitis were reported here; many of them were caused due to contaminated water,” he said.
“Some meters away from where the spring is situated, its water gets mixed with a contaminated canal which contains water of drains and street taps,” Gaffar added.
The people said they had brought the matter to the notice of higher authorities through various mediums “but despite promises and commitments nothing was done by the government”.
They have appealed the government to utilise the Nilnag water for drinking water supply in the area.
Over hundred villages of Shopian face drinking water problems for more than six months each year and the source water, Rambiara, contains heavily polluted water.
According to environmentalists and experts, the construction of Mughal road, laying of power lines in forest areas, deforestation and damaging banks of Rambiara rivulet were among the reasons which increased the drinking water problems in the district.
There are many water supply schemes in Shopian which have no filtration arrangement while as most of the rest are dependent on slow sand filtration.
Deputy Commissioner Shopian Owais Ahmad told Kashmir Reader that utilising the spring of Heff is good suggestion and he will look into this.
“It is a better option to utilise this spring for drinking water facilities and I will discuss it with the officials,” he said.