Sherfun Nisa

Wokai village’s wait for clean drinking water continues…

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Kulgam, Apr 25: The residents of village Wokai in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district are awaiting better sanitation and clean drinking from last two decades.

The residents of Wokai village that comprise of around 700 households complained that the drinking water is being supplied directly, without any filtration, to their village from a stream flowing through neighbouring Pariwan village.

Locals here are angry with the administration, who they say are unconcerned about the health risks that the unfiltered water poses to the inhabitants.

They said that the water is being supplied through underground pipes which not only contain dirt but insects also.

“The water supplied to us is so dirty that we have to wait for hours to let the dirt settle beneath the containers. We do not only receive muddy water but also with it earthworms, leeches, small fishes, and sometimes even small snakes,” said a local Jawhara Banu.

Locals said that they have brought the issue several times in the notice of senior officials but every time they turned a deaf ear to their pleas.

“We have visited every concerned office for getting the problem solved but each time, what we got was just a word of assurance from the officials. Several higher officials have been reshuffled here but till date no one among them has shown any interest to resolve the issue here that concern the health of thousands of villagers here,” said a local Abdul Hameed.

They locals said that Wokai is bestowed with dozens of natural springs but due to the negligence of administration, not a single spring is being preserved.

“The water of our own native springs would be sufficient for our requirements but it requires some efforts from the administration,” said Ahmad Bhat, a native of Wokai Gulzar.

While recalling the history Wokai village, Haji Gulam Mohammad, a local resident said this village had many springs out of which only few sustained.

Locals said that they have been facing the problem since 90’s, when a filtration plant at Pariwan, which would supply water to around twelve villages, got defunct because of the establishment of an army camp in the water plant premises.

However, they said that the army vacated the filtration plant in the year 2000 but the people here are still yearning for the clean water supply.

“We toiled hard to provide our village with clean water supply. We want that our future generations should drink hygienic water but given the callous approach of the administration, it seems a distant dream for us,” said a village committee member.

According to the locals, recently a number of experiments were carried on the water bodies here by the district medical teams. “The findings of the experiment suggested that the water from these water bodies is not even suitable for the washing purposes,” the locals said.

They said that although the government has announced one crore 75 lac rupees for the water supply scheme here but nothing substantial has been done so far with these funds.

“Three years have passed but no tender has been issued yet for the proposed water scheme. It appears to us that government is waiting for a tragedy to happen in our village and then only they will do something regarding our demands,” said a local, Abdul Hameed.

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