BIJBEHARA: People here in Bijbehara town of south Kashmir’s Anantnag district rue that they are going through the “worst” drinking water crisis but the administration is still unmoved by their plight.
Locals say that either there is no water supply for days or the water supplied is so filthy that it is not fit for consumption. “Water supply crisis is not new to Bijbehara but things have been going from bad to worse over the past years,” Adil Rashid, a resident of the town, told Kashmir Reader.
Generally, the people say, water in Bijbehara is supplied at specific times in the day and there is no round-the-clock water supply anywhere in the town. “And then there are days when there is no water at all,” the residents say.
Only a few days back, the New Colony area of the town remained devoid of any water at all for at least three days, but the authorities did not even bother to send a water tanker. “When it comes to the water supply fee, it has almost tripled in the last few years. To collect it, the employees appear at your home without fail. And when we need water, they disappear,” Muhammad Shahid, resident of the New Colony area, told Kashmir Reader.
Even when the Public Health Engineering Department (PHE), now rechristened as the Jal Shakti Department, supplies water, it is often a threat to the health of the residents.
“The water is so mud-filled that our bathrooms and kitchens have turned muddy. You can only imagine what such water does to a human body,” the residents told Kashmir Reader, adding that at times the water stinks of human excreta.
On days when it rains, the residents say, the water gets muddier and smells of unmentionable things. “Which is a clear indication that we are being supplied water from an open source without any filtration process at all,” the residents lamented.
The authorities have remained unmoved despite the residents lodging their complaints time and again. This has been going on for years now, the residents said.
“A few years back, as an eyewash, some taps were installed around the town and we were told that the taps will supply the purest of drinking water. We don’t know whether the water was pure or not, but the taps ran dry soon and have remained such since,” the residents said.