IMPHAL, April 4: Taking advantage of the acute scarcity of water in Imphal city, Water Supply staffs stationed at the Ningthem Pukhri General Water reservoir are minting money by selling water to private water carriers without authorization from higher authorities. Meanwhile, the main sources of water for the treatment plants around Imphal have dried up.
Early morning today, local residents saw diesel auto rickshaws saddled with water storage tanks of different capacities pumping water from the water reservoir.
A high ranking officer at the PHED HQs expressed surprise when asked about the illegal activity. However, he said serious action would be taken up against the erring officials at the reservoir.
He added, the department is opening up only two reservoirs in Imphal area to private operators which are Canchipur and Koirengei.
An IFP reporter saw vehicles loaded with storage tanks filled with water coming out from the Ningthem Pukhri Water Supply complex. When the reporter queried to the people working inside the campus, none of them cooperated with an excuse that they were simply labourers.
A private operator refused to comment when asked with whose permission they are pumping out water from the resevior. However, he said they sell water at the rate of Rs 400 per 1000 lt.
Supply of potable water at Porompat water supply scheme has stopped from March 31 as the water levels at Iril River and Imphal River have receded and this will remain effective till the water levels are back to normal, a PHED statement said.
According to a statement of the Water Supply Maintenance Divn II, regular supply of drinking water to the areas under Porompat water supply scheme, Canchipur water supply scheme, Khurai Lai wangma reservoir, Minuthong reservoir, etc. would not be possible as of now.
The daily requirement of the 7.5 lakh population of Imphal including sub urban areas is slated at 102 million liters (ML) and the volume provided by the Public Health and Engineering Department at present amounts to hardly 70 ML.
Another statement from Water Supply Maintenance Divn I said, the water level at Singda Dam has receded to its lowest level and the Leimakhong River is fast drying up leading to inoperable conditions at the Singda, Kangchup and Iroisemba Water Plants.
According to the statement, the treatment plant at Iroisemba could not pump up enough water. In the prevailing circumstance, the division would not be able to supply water to areas of Imphal under the jurisdiction of Iroisemba plant; Thangmeiband and Lamphel areas under the jurisdiction of Singda; Keisampat, Nepramenjor leikai, Babupara, Irompukhri and Chingtham Leikai under Kangchup plant; and areas under the jurisdiction of Sangaiprou reservoir.
The statement further appealed to the general public to desist from resorting to unauthorized connection and damage to the pipelines in this time of crisis. Such acts could entail imprisonment from one to six months or a fine of Rs 3000 or both under the Water Supply Act 1992.
It also sought cooperation from the general public specially Meira Paibis and local clubs in the campaign against unauthorized connections.
PHED sources say, the water which is being pumped from the main reservoir incurs a loss of 30% during transmission due to leakages. The main reason is stated to be the nearly 40 years old pipelines deteriorating.