Reyaz Rashid

Acute drinking water scarcity hits dozens of villages in North Kashmir

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Baramulla, Aug 06: While Kashmir continues to reel under a heat wave; many areas in North Kashmir’s Baramulla, Bandipora and Kupwara districts are facing acute water scarcity with many people here drinking unhygienic water of river Jehlum.

People from various areas of these districts alleged that they are facing grave hardships due to shortage of drinking water and are forced to drink contaminated water of river Jehlum, canals.

Up in arms against government and Public Health Engineering Department, a long queue of woman and men was seen fetching water from a streamlet at Gantamulla Bala – a village, barely 7 km away from Baramulla town.

“There is no drinking water in our village and we are forced to drink contaminated water of canals which is unhygienic and health hazardous for us,” said Mema Begum of Gantamulla Bala.

The women of Doolgund village in Rafiabad also complained of drinking water shortage.

“We are being compelled to walk 3-4 kilometers everyday to fetch water from a canal here. Government has been promising us to provide drinking water to our village from a long time now, but nothing has happened so far in this regard,” Raja Begum of the village told Kashmir Images.

Similarly, in apple town Sopore thousands of people living in the areas of Arampora, Hajam Mohalla, Chankipora are facing drinking water shortage. The acute water scarcity in these areas has become usual as authorities are taking no measures to address the problem.

People of Ferozpora Rafaiabad complained of drinking contaminated water which they are collecting from the nearby paddy fields. “There is no drinking water facility in our area and we have been forced to drink water that gets accumulated in the paddy fields, while as the government launched a water supply scheme some eight years back but it has never worked for us.

“There is no drinking water facility in our village and we are crying for water where is government,” asks Nazir Ahmed, local resident of Ferozpora Rafiabad.

The other worst hit areas are main town Baramull, Kanlibangh Baramulla,Khanpora, Kadinayar, Kuzar, Sheeri Narwave, Badmulla, Gulshan Colony, Drangbal etc.

People of Binner Janabazpora Baramulla told Kashmir Images that their area is reeling under grave drinking water scarcity and people are left high and dry .There is no water and people waiting for even a single drop.

People of Hajibal Baramulla are also facing shortage of drinking water that has resulted in various dreadful diseases. Abdul Rehman Bukhari of Hajibal said, “Our village being a remote and deprived of basic facilities is not having any proper arrangement of drinking water.”

In Hundwara and Kupwara protestes broke out at several places against the shortage of drinking water.

“Kashmir is famous for its water resources and the irony is that Kashmiris are craving for drops to drink,” said Abdul Qayoom, a resident of Kupwara town. .

“This is for the first time since I have shifted here that we are facing such severe crisis,” a resident of Rajwara said.

The most affected areas are Qauilgam,Nagri,Natnusa Kandi,Batpora, Prohopand, Yunsu, Handishart,Karlgund etc.

When contacted Superintendent Engineer (SE) PHE north Abdul Hamid said that in summer water scarcity is very common as water resources dry up and also people use drinking water for irrigation purpose.

While admitting that there is an acute water scarcity in many areas of North Kashmir, he added: “Water resources such as streams, rivers and reservoirs dry up in summers due to high temperature which leads to water storage, however, we have geared up PHE department to tackle the crisis.”

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