Panzath spring a source of drinking water for over 50k souls faces official apathy

Panzath spring a source of drinking water for over 50k souls faces official apathy

Umaisar Gull Ganie

Anantnag (Panzath), Jan 18 : Amid the dry spell in Kashmir, numerous water bodies are grappling with alarming lows. Similarly, Panzath Nag, situated in the Qazigund belt of South Kashmir’s Anantnag district, emerges as a crucial source, providing 6,720,000 liters of water daily and sustains a population of over 50 thousand residents during these challenging times.

Panzath Nag, located barely 2 kilometers from Qazigund, the gateway of Kashmir on the national highway, derives its name from the combination of two words: “Panzath,” meaning five hundred, and “Nag,” meaning spring.

The spring is mentioned in the ancient texts of Kashmir, namely the Rajtarangrani and Nilamata Purana, written in the 12th century by Kalhana.

Talking to the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), Assistant Executive Engineer (AEE) of Jal Shakti in Qazigund, Rafiq Ahmad Bhat said, “Panzath Nag has been meeting water supply demands for decades. For over 40 years, we have been extracting water from the spring.”

In addition to offering irrigation water facilities to over 30 villages, Rafiq said that a large population is benefiting from the spring.

“Currently, the Jal Shakti department is operating nine water supply schemes from this water source, providing approximately 6.72 million liters daily to about twelve villages,” he stated.

A population of 51,325 people relies on the drinking water supplied by Panzath Nag, Rafiq said, adding that that despite the dry spell in the valley, other water bodies have experienced low discharge, but Panzath spring continues to provide an ample water supply.

Regarding the water quality from the spring, the official said, “We are consistently testing the water supply from the spring. During the rainy period, organic matter can mix with it. To ensure water quality, the Jal Shakti department conducts regular tests and has plans to install pre-settling tanks.”

He further said that the water supply is suitable for human consumption as they regularly treat it.

In a message, he said that people should use water judiciously, avoid wastage, as it is precious.

“Service in higher contour areas may experience lower availability, and preserving water will contribute to sustainable water sources,” the official added.

Locals expressed concern that the spring is rapidly losing its richness due to extensive pollution and official negligence.

“Despite having abundant resources and being designated as a tourist village, Panzath has been overlooked by government departments,” Ghulam Nabi, a local said. He said that preserving the spring would rejuvenate tourism and ensure a consistent supply of irrigation and drinking water.

He suggested that the administration should clean the spring of waste sewage, weeds and pipelines should be laid beneath the spring, not in it, as placing them inside the spring hinders water flow and leads to high pollution levels.

Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner (DC) Anantnag Syeed Fakhurdin Hamid told KNO that a team would be deputed to the area to check the issues. “The matter will be looked into,” he said—(KNO)

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