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health hazard: People collecting water for mundane use from a kunta in Ongole.
ONGOLE: Praja Pathams come and go. But the fate of some colonies across the railway tracks, on Koppole road remains the same.
About 1,000 people living in Indira colony, Jashua colony and Puli Venkata Reddy colony have been suffering for want of drinking water for the last two decades. Though the municipality laid a pipeline to supply protected water to these colonies many years ago, it lay in disuse. So as the day breaks, all the families engage themselves in singular activity, viz, carrying water for bathing and washing from a nearby kunta and wait for municipal tankers that supply them drinking water once in three days.
Most of these houses do not have sanitary latrines. But most of the houses have water tanks mounted on tri-cycle to carry water from a distance of 1-2 km. Few houses that can not afford tri-cycles, carry water on bicycles or on head-loads. But all of them invariably spend an hour or two every day for carrying water.
As the population increased on the western side of the railway track, they break the pipeline to quench their thirst. So the people living downstream on the western side of the railway track do not get any water rendering the pipeline useless.
These people depend on the kunta (a trough) where rain water is collected. As the municipality made no arrangements for protection of the kunta, people from nearby Koppole use it for washing their animals making the water unfit for drinking purposes.
Yet the colonies carry the water for bathing and washing purposes. “Officials avoid gram sabha in these colonies during Praja Patham for fear of drawing flak from the residents”, a woman complained.
When contacted, Municipal Commissioner, Ravindra Babu, admitted that the colonies faced acute drinking water problem.
He said that municipal tankers would make more trips to increase quantum of water supplied to these colonies for drinking purposes.
He said that the municipality has taken up a scheme to augment water supply in the town at a cost of Rs. 18 crore. An overhead tank has been sanctioned for Puli Venkata Reddy colony which would meet the drinking water needs of the colonies lying across the railway track in the next one year.
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