Rural people in over a hundred villages in Tirtol, Kujang, Erasama, Naugaon and Balikuda blocks of Jagatsinghpur district are reeling under acute water shortage.

This is our plight every summer despite the Naveen Patnaik government’s tall claims and promises over the last 18 years, decried the villagers. We are left high and dry every summer, they remarked in anger and disgust.

Official sources claim that they have completed 156 rural piped water supply projects ~ at least on paper. This figure is sent to the state secretariate and the CM is impressed during his review meetings without realising that the figures are either fudged or nothing has been done to connect the pipeline to the tank or the pump station does not work due to lack of electrical connection etc.

For instance, there are 23 pipe water supply projects in different panchayats of Naugaon block. These are connected to the overhead water tank, but water is yet to be pumped to the overhead tank.

The sarpanch of Korua panchayat Mr Aranya Nayak said there are two pipe water projects in Garei and Dhunapada villages but the villagers of Dhanikhia do not get potable water as the pipeline is damaged and in the other there is no connection to the overhead water tank.

In Dabour panchayat, the pump has been defunct since one year and nothing has been done to repair it, resulting in water scarcity in Dabour, Mahanapari villagers.

The case of Tiruna panchayat is still worse ~ the piped water scheme has been defunct since its inception in 2009! Villagers of Kusupur, Baramunduli, Anantpur under Balikuda block have alleged that pipe water supply projects have been completed but these projects are not functioning as there is no power connection.

Pipelines of the water supply project at Posal and Danilo panchayat office under Danilo panchayat of Tirtol block have been damaged since last year. The piped water project at Sankheswer panchayat under Tirtol block has been defunct since six months.

Despite requests by the harried villages and local representatives, the departments do not repair the damaged pipelines. The Executive Engineer, RWSS, Mr Chittaranjan Jena, said: “We have initiated steps for repair and restoration, but it must be understood that the panchayats are in charge of maintenance and repairing of tube wells and pipe water projects.”

Ironically, the pre-summer, ritualistic annual line over the last 17 years of the CM has been repair and restoration of all tube wells and water supply lines must be done on war footing!

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