Locals allege Jal Shakti dept of causing loss to exchequer, official says work on project to start soon
Baramulla, Mar 07 : Established in 2011, rural filtration plant at Shrakwara village in Baramulla is lying defunct with locals accusing
Jal Shakhti (PHE) department Sopore of fraud.
Constructed at a cost of Rs 13 crore, locals said they have not got water supply from the plant ever since its completion. Instead, they said they are getting water from a Nallah. The plant was inaugurated by the then minister Sukhnandan Kumar alongside Syed Basharat Bukhari.
Talking to the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) Showket Ahmed said that the water supply scheme and filtration plant is lying defunct and the entire area is forced to drink polluted water directly coming from nallahs and springs.
“The plant goes out of order just a week after it was commissioned,” he added.
Accusing the department of fraud, Showkat said that the authorities have been continuously ignoring their pleas and the department has miserably failed to mitigate problems. “At least 20 villages from Shrakwara to Amargrah Sopore are dependent on the said rural filtration plant”, he added.
“During DDC Safeena Beigh’s recent visit to the plant, the Jal Shakhti officials misled her by stating only the line is damaged and rest the plant is functioning, which is far from the reality”, said Mehraj u Din, another resident.
He said that they are facing acute water scarcity with many people drinking contaminated water.
The residents urged the Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha, deputy commissioner Baramulla and the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) to look into the matter and probe the case.
“The plant functioned but was not up to the mark as the source piping laid several years ago got damaged,” said an employee stationed at the plant wishing anonymity.
He said that the plant is currently out of order and they have taken up the matter with the higher ups and the tendering process for at least 7 km (gas cut pipes) has been started. The plant may start soon, he added.
“Due to its less SR capacity of 2.5 lakh gallons, the plant would still not be able to cater to the villages. It should have capacity of at least 8 lakh gallons,” he added.
Assistant Executive Engineer Jal Shakhti (PHE), Sopore told KNO that they have taken up the measures to start the plant which would benefit people. “The tendering process for the said has been started and they are likely going to start the work soon on the said project”, he said.
He refuted the allegations of contaminated water being provided to the villagers.
He said that though the water supply is being provided from a local nallah but they are taking every possible measure to provide people safe water supply.
On corruption allegations, the official said that the project was only of 42 lakh and the allegations of 13 crores are baseless. But the issue is being investigated, he added—(KNO)