Shopian: While people in Shopian struggle for access to clean water, many callous orchardists here have cut water supply pipelines to use the water for sanitation and sprays in their orchards and vegetable gardens. Hundreds of households in the district have thus been deprived of water supply, locals told Kashmir Reader.
Villagers of Trenz, which comprises more than 300 households, said that they have been facing water scarcity for the past four years due to the pipes being cut by local orchardists. Despite bringing this to the notice of the PHE (now Jal Shakti) department, their complaints have gone unheard.
“They not only cut the pipes but when they spray pesticides, it gets mixed with the water that we use for drinking purposes,” Syed Haris, a resident of Trenz, told Kashmir Reader.
Others said that where would they go to some other place to live if the orchardists continue to poison the water.
“We are apprehensive about outbreak of diseases if the people who cut lines are not stopped by authorities,” said Nasir Ahmad.
Another local said that the orchardists living higher up the village are responsible for the water problem in the area. He demanded strict action against the people involved.
Shopian being a rural area, most of the water supply pipes run through orchards, which gives easy access to people to cut the lines and use the water for sprays and irrigation.
Rafiq Ahmad, a resident of Imamsahib area, said, “There are arrangements in place for both irrigation and water to be used for sprays, but people don’t want to step out of their homes to bring water to the canals from big streams.”
Officials from Jal Shakti department said that they are facing this issue in almost all the areas of the district and despite registering police cases, people continue to commit the crime of cutting supply lines.
“Last year when we found a farmer involved in cutting lines, he responded that he can kill his son but he can’t do anything else except use the water supply lines for irrigation,” a senior official of the department said.
All this is happening when Shopian is facing a major drinking water problem that is due to contamination in local streams and faulty and outdated supply lines.
Executive Engineer, Jal Shakti department, Irfan ul Islam admitted that orchardists cut supply lines for irrigation and sprays. “We lodged police cases but these greedy people don’t care about what problems other people and employees of our department face. We even ran awareness programmes, made announcements during Friday congregations, but these people continue to do it,” he said.
“Still, people should inform us about the persons involved so that the department can get them booked under relevant sections of law. However, only a civic sense among people can help us stop this menace, ” he said.