Kendrapara, Nov 21 (LocalWire): The Rs-241-crore ambitious mega drinking water supply project, which aimed at providing water in the salinity hit coastal pockets of Kendrapara district, is moving at a snail’s pace.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had laid the foundation stone of the project in 2018 and promised to complete the project within two years. However, work is yet to be completed.
“Drinking water crisis has always remained a major issue in the seaside villages and this project aimed to solve the water problem in 148 villages of 26 Gram Panchayats within Mahakalapada block and 52 villages of 16 Gram Panchayats within Marsaghai block with a population of 2.36 Lakh.
However, some villagers challenged the project before the National Green Tribunal (NGT) last year, claiming that the construction work of the project over 15.43 acres of land in the village Manikunda under Marshaghai Tehsil was illegal as the land was recorded as Gramya Jungle or village forest.
Subsequently, the NGT stayed the work for not having clearance from the required authorities under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980,” said Dilip Kumar Dehury, the Executive Engineer of Rural Water Supply and Sanitation (RWSS), Kendrapara.
The proposed drinking water project has the capacity to provide 25 million liters of drinking water. 28 overhead water tanks are to be built under the project.
It would involve laying around 150-km long water pipeline, construction of six underground reservoirs and two water treatment plants at Jadupur and Manikunda.
“We have already completed 60 percent of the work. As per the order of the NGT, we are yet to start the project work in Manikunda village.
We have applied for clearance from the forest department and after getting the clearance we will start the work,” added Dehury.
Salinity ingress in many coastal pockets has been increasing, leaving more and more agricultural land infertile. Many villages were virtually floating on an ocean of sweet water three decades back.
However, due to excess drawing of groundwater, the salinity level in the water has been increasing year by year.
It is a common scene in many seaside villages that the people stand in long queues to collect water from a few tube-wells.
The authorities should complete the work on the drinking project immediately so that the purpose of the project is not lost, said Sarat Behera of Jadupur village.