Despite repeated complaints and protests residents in many parts of Rajouri are getting water which is unfit for drinking. Locals claim that water with impurities like sand, mud and other materials is being supplied by the PHE despite the fact that this issue has been brought into the notice of officials. The people of Rajouri allege that instead of taking remedial action the PHE department gives them assurances of installing new pipelines, and improving delivery which is not going to solve the present problem of poor quality supply of drinking water. Arshad, a resident of Rajouri says that small children, and even elders are getting unwell using this water as it contains contaminants. Meanwhile, the situation is not bad in Rajouri alone as residents of Jammu city which is the winter capital of the state have also been accusing the PHE of supplying poor quality of drinking water which has caused wide resentment.
In fact, residents of many parts of the state point out that rural and far flung areas are being supplied untreated, and contaminated water by the government. The problem is particularly acute in hilly areas, and where there is scarcity of surface water while the ground water is either not fit to use or difficult to be bored. A study says that almost half of the government schools, and colleges as well as 30 per cent villages are getting poor quality water.
The residents of Old Ramban on National Highway have also made repeated complaints to the government about poor quality water despite the fact crores have been spent on setting up a filtration plant. The locals allege that the plant has been lying defunct for years, and water supplied to the residents. They now fear the spread of water-borne diseases in the area, and allege that despite many deputations no action has been taken by higher authorities.
It is pertinent to mention that supply of untreated water in the state could lead to massive health problems because a survey a couple of years back which was carried out by ISRO had found that majority of ground water reserves in the state was unfit for human consumption. The remote sensing survey had found that water beneath the ground had high iron or fluoride content that made water unfit for use. The problem was found to be more acute in Kashmir valley which despite having large number of rivers, and stream had high level of iron in water sources in most places. The quality of reserves in Jammu, Rajouri, Poonch, Doda, and Kandi belt in the state was also not of good quality. In such a situation experts say that government should put maximum emphasis on treating the water supplied to the population in the entire state, and also work towards harvesting rainwater on surface as it has much less contaminants as compared to the underground reserves. Experts also warn that using contaminated water could lead to diseases caused by the presence of too much chemicals as the body is not used to such heavy water.
Pics: CJ Sona