Not a drop to drink…
The state of Jammu and Kashmir is lavishly bestowed with abundant water resources which have immense potential to change the life-standard of the inhabitants of the whole state provided they are exploited judiciously. However, what meets the eye is a soaring picture that if not rectified could lead to an entirely different conclusion which is contrary to the availability of water. If the state’s inability to provide safe, clean drinking water to its people is taken as a pointer, it goes without saying that one could conclude without any fear of contradiction that Valley has become like a huge ocean with water all around but not a drop to drink.
Forget about generation of 20,000 MW of electricity, the people in general are craving for a few drops of pure, clean and fresh drinking water. Not only in the countryside, but even in the capital city Srinagar people of several areas are faced with acute shortage of drinking water. And what caps their miseries is that the promises made by authorities to them have failed to bring about any change on the ground. Work on the several water supply schemes has been going on for years without actually reaching anywhere or changing much for the recipient public who are supposed to be benefit by these schemes.
It is ironical that not too far in the past, Kashmir had Asia’s largest fresh water lake in the shape of Wullar. But unfortunately, one cannot even dare to wash hands in it today for its sheer pollution. The rivers that contained crystal clear waters not long back have turned into flowing maladies smelling stench to an extent that if someone is exposed to their water for some time, the person surely catches bed in a hospital. Small streams and brooks in the countryside have been encroached upon so much so that there are only their names around with no trace of a stream or brook. When natural supply system of water meets such fate, all eyes are set on the government for provision of drinking water!
It is a pity that despite facilitating water supply to a sizeable portion of the population, least attention is being paid to the quality of water provided to the people for consumption. The sources of water are cleansed rarely and that is why taps sometimes spew worms to the frightful amazement of the consumers. The pipes usually made of iron gather rust with the passage of time and water which is pumped through them gets polluted with the presence of this rust which only adds to the contamination of the drinking water that adversely tells upon the health of its users. So much carelessness is shown by the Public Health Engineering department towards the supply of clean water that hundreds of people find themselves admitted in hospitals owing to water-borne diseases.
Government must make sure that in a water-rich state, public is fed with pure and non-polluted water, at least for drinking purposes. The perennial springs that dot whole of the state in general and Kashmir valley in particular, must be harnessed to the maximum extent so that the pure water they gush out reaches to the people without getting adulterated due to unclean pipes and other means of supply. Reservoirs constructed for storage of drinking water must be disinfected every time fresh water is pumped into them. Chlorination of water will also improve the quality of water. Once the government becomes serious about providing safe drinking water to the people, mineral water bottles procured from outside the state, which have now become staple in all official and private functions as also for domestic consumption will cease to be yet another drain on state’s money, which otherwise flows out with each and every bottle that comes in here.