Shopian: Changing the name of the public health engineering department (PHE) to Jal Shakti department has made at least one thing change in this south Kashmir district: the colour of the drinking water supplied by the department.
Many villages in the district, particularly in Trenz, Turkwangam, Chitragam, and Imamsahib are receiving “lemon juice coloured” water supply in their homes, residents say, complaining that it is unfit even for cooking purposes.
Locals from Imamsahib said that the contamination of the water is so high that when they wash clothes, they come out dirtier than they were.
“I sell chicken. If I wash it with the tap water, costumers refuse to buy it. We are forced to bring water from a far-off tubewell even to wash the chicken,” Shahnawaz Ahmad Koka, a chicken seller in Imamsahib market, told Kashmir Reader.
Locals from Trenz and adjoining villages have similar complaints. They say that earlier the water’s colour used to be black and brown, and now it looks like a grey lemon.
“There is a spring some kilometers from our village. Every morning and evening we bring water from there for drinking and cooking purposes,” Nasir Ahmad, a local, said.
The water problem in Shopian is not new. Most of the villages in the district have the Rambiara rivulet as their source of water. All of them have been facing problems since the construction of the Mughal Road was started in the region.
Experts say that the unscientific soil cutting along the banks of river for building the Mughal Road is the reason for the water contamination in the district.
Locals from many areas said that they are being provided muddy water in the name of drinking water. They said that the contamination of water is so much that it even blocks the pipes as layers of mud get stuck into them.
Executive engineer at Jal Shakti department Shopian, Irfan ul Islam told Kashmir Reader that the government has sanctioned Rs 209 crore but so far no agency has taken up the contract for construction of a new supply line.
“We are having deliberations with three agencies from Delhi, Chandigarh and Mumbai and we hope the deal will get done with one of them, so that the district can get relief from this crisis,” he said.