|Illegal supply lines on Rinkingpong Road. Picture by Chinlop Fudong Lepcha|
Kalimpong, Jan. 30: Administrative efforts are on to tackle the acute water crisis in town and the axe is about to fall on illegal water users.
At a high-level meeting held here today, it was decided that officials of various departments would inspect the entire route of the Neora water pipelines to stop stealing of water. The meeting, called by the Kalimpong subdivisional officer, Shakil Ahmed, was attended by, among others, Kalimpong Municipality chairman C.K. Kumai, officials of the public health engineering and water works departments and the administrative commandant of the local army station, V.K. Yadav.
“At the meeting, the participants also called for the removal of all illegal water connections in Kalimpong. We will be meeting again later to review the situation,” Ahmed told The Telegraph after the meeting.
Last week, the People’s Democratic Front, the main opposition in the hills, had issued a seven-day ultimatum to the administration demanding an early solution to the problem of water scarcity in Kalimpong. The coalition had threatened to take to the streets if the authorities failed in its task.
In Kalimpong, the DGHC water works department is in charge of water supply.
The water crisis here has been going from bad to worse with each passing year. Even during monsoon last year, the residents had to make do with only about half-an-hour of water supply, that too on alternate days. Under the circumstances, they are forced to buy water of dubious quality from the market.
Sources at the local army station said people there, too, have been facing acute water crisis over the past few years. Both civilians and army personnel are supposed to get water from the Neora Drinking Water Scheme at a ratio of 60:40. However, despite crores of rupees having been spent on the project, it has failed to meet the water requirements of the town.
“Rain water harvesting can be a long-term solution, but that will have to be done in a very scientific way, which few residents can afford on their own,” said a participant at today’s meeting.