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Smart city too feels the pinch

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It’s not just the rural areas, the capital city too is grappling with the scarcity of drinking water. People queueing up near tube wells and water tankers have become a common sight at some places here. Such is the desperation for water that some don’t mind asking for it from well-off families, who have deep bore wells. The situation of Arabinda Nagar, under ward 18 of the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC), is alarming. Over 100 families are living in the locality with no pipe water connection. They draw water from dug wells or a tube well for drinking purpose. “It’s very difficult to gulp the water drawn from the tube well because of its foul smell. I think piped water will remain a dream for us,” said Bipin Kumar Sahu, a local resident.

Baliapata slum of the same ward has a different story to tell. The public health engineering organization (PHEO), which supplies water to the city, has set up tanks in the slum to supply water to its dwellers. Despite this, people have not been getting water for the past two months. “We have to fetch water from a tube well in our slum. We have to stand in a queue near the tube well to get water,” said Ganga Das. Pandara and Munda Sahi near the Hi-Tech Medical College of ward 18 and Kimbhiria slum of ward 19 are facing a similar problem. They have been demanding supply of potable water, but in vain.Old Town area under ward 61, Pahal, Nakhara and Naharkanta areas of ward 4 are also facing acute shortage of drinking water because the PHEO has not laid pipelines yet.

Most of the slums in the city are not connected with water pipeline. Hatiasuni Basti and its nearby areas in Salia Sahi, Mahabir Basti under ward 9, Ishaneswar Basti near Niladri Vihar, some parts of Sikharchandi Basti and other slums are yet to get potable water.”Of the 67 wards in the BMC, only 24 wards receive drinking water. The rest 43 wards are partially covered under the drinking water programmes,” said PHEO superintending engineer Chitta Ranjan Jena. “Some new areas are coming in the city. So we are trying to supply water to the new areas phase-wise,” he added. City mayor Anant Narayan Jena said every household of the city will get water by 2020. The areas, where people don’t get piped drinking water, will be covered under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) scheme.

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