Imphal, (IANS) The Manipur government has promised potable water for all its people by 2022. But till it does so, most people are having to subsist on water purchased from private suppliers or the “mineral water” sold in markets.
Several persons that IANS contacted said that the Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) has “failed” to supply potable water.
Almost all families are dependant on private water suppliers who deliver “potable water” at the doorstep at Rs.200 per 1,000 litres. They buy the same from private water tank owners at Rs.40 per 1,000 litres.
The tankers avoid the government water points since water is impure and muddy there.
PHED makes special deliveries of treated water to the residences of the elected members, high officials and prominent people every morning free of charge.
Official sources said the PHED is to be allotted Rs.180.61 crore to improve and sustain water supply structures in the state capital areas. Earlier, Rs.98.54 crore had been sanctioned in February 2014 for Phase I. Under this scheme water pipes had been laid in some areas and five water reservoirs constructed.
The officials said: “At least 47 water supply schemes were constructed in the hill areas.”
The officials are hopeful that the revised funds for Phase II and III, involving Rs.200 crore and Rs.153.82 crore, respectively, would soon be sanctioned.
In absence of tap water, all houses and offices are buying “treated water” from the water tankers or “mineral water” bottles.
Sometime back, there were media exposes showing some water tankers drawing water from marshy lands which are the dumping ground of garbage from hotels, school hostels and private homes.
The water thus collected is sold as treated water to gullible consumers.
Regional Institute of Medical Sciences, Imphal, the medical college and hospital for the seven north eastern states, has been buying dozens of water tankers everyday from private suppliers.
The special water pipe leading to this institute of the union health ministry has been dry for years.
Shops and kiosks selling “mineral water bottles” have mushroomed doing brisk business for supplying to homes and other social and religious functions. Recently experts found that marketed brands were sub-standard and injurious to health. In absence of booking the dealers the business is thriving.
Doctors say that many people have become susceptible to water-borne diseases.
Meanwhile, more and more new products of “mineral water” bottles are arriving in the market. There is no system to establish the purity and worthiness for human consumption.