Kiphire: Aspirational dist’s deepening water crisis

Kiphire: Aspirational dist’s deepening water crisis

PHED water reservoir for supply to Kiphire Town seen here in a morbid condition. Despite being declared an ‘aspirational district,’ Kiphire’s people have not been given basic access to clean water. (Morung Photo)

P. Achumse Yingbithongrü
Kiphire | April 23

One of the top priorities under the ‘Aspirational District’ programme was to connect every household in Kiphire Town to public water supply. Yet shortage of water has led to a deepening water crisis here. The hopes and aspirations of the people under the ‘Aspirational District’ programme have fallen flat.

Given topography, geographic location and available water resources in and around Kiphire, the Town should have a surplus water supply, but on the contrary even the existing water supply to Kiphire Town is on a gradual decline as the denizens are completely dependent on private water cable distributors and private water carriers, affecting the economy and social equilibrium.

Upgrading infrastructure
Sub-standard quality of water pipes leading to damage due to bursting is one of the main causes of the deepening water crises. These pipes were laid three decades back when Kiphire Town served as ADC headquarters. With the rapid increase in population, demand for water supply has exponentially grown with Kiphire upgraded to a district. However, there has been no visible action on the ground to mitigate the water crises.

In this scenario, Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) Kiphire is losing out on revenue as the people are relying on private cable water distributors and private water carriers. Around 2000 consumers in Kiphire Town are dependent on private water distributors and private cable distributors, shelling out around Rs. 3.50 lakh per month.

According to the sources, “nothing has been done to address the problem of water crises in Kiphire. People of Kiphire have to take an interest and pressure the government.”

DPR rejected
Speaking to The Morung Express, sources said that the Detailed Project Report (DPR) for better water supply to Kiphire Town, submitted by the PHED to the central government, was rejected by the latter on the grounds that the budget proposal was beyond normal and directed the PHED to take it up with the department of urban development.

Expressing concern on the habit of preparing inflated DPRs for projects, sources said, “We prepare DPRs for rejection and not for implementing them. Once officials from Delhi see it, they automatically come to know that the DPR is bogus.”

At present the Town has a two-phase connection. The first is from Mutrikyu and the second phase is from Tukhahe which is around 14km from Kiphire town. However, the current water supply with the capacity of 65mm pipe is not enough to meet the current demand and needs an enhancement to a higher capacity of at least 200mm diameter pipe to cater to the needs of the nearly 20,000 population of Kiphire.

Swajal project
Swajal Project is a flagship scheme under National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP). On inquiring about its implementation in Kiphire, sources confided to The Morung Express that “the department is not willing to release the fund which has been sanctioned for Kiphire by the centre.”
Kiphire was allocated ‘Swajal Project’ as a priority district out of 10 districts selected from across India under the ‘Aspirational District’ programme.