Hyderabad: The sprightly Banjara community inhabiting a cluster of tribal villages in the outskirts of Mannegudem in Mahabubabad district are a happy lot today as they have enough drinking water, and do not have to trek miles to fetch water.
They even have enough water to quench the thirst of their cattle, which they hitherto use to sell for a song ahead of summer due to acute scarcity conditions.
It is more so with Dhanya Tanda and Mallaiahkunta Tanda where women had to walk long distances to fetch water from nearby sources during summer in the past. The marked improvement in the augmentation in water supply is because of Mission Bhagiratha. These tribal habitations are part of the households that benefited from the 0.12 tmc of water being treated and supplied under Mission Bhagiratha in the State. This welcome situation can be seen in most parts of the State.
Unlike other Southern States of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh that are struggling to meet water scarcity in their towns and villages, Telangana villages and towns are better placed today insofar as water supply is concerned. The drinking water situation in Telangana, despite the scorching heat drying up wells and tanks, however, is a different story.
G Krupakar Reddy, Engineer In Chief (ENC), spearheading the implementation of Mission Bhagiratha, says potable water supply through the Mission taps reaches 22,276 habitations. All the targeted 23,968 rural habitations and 114 urban local bodies are covered with bulk water supply. So far as the intake arrangements are concerned, construction of all the 19 intake structures has been completed.
So is the case with the works on the 50 water treatment plants, 49,120 km of transmission pipeline and 1,272 major structures taken up as part of the project at an estimated cost of Rs 45,028 crores. Over 44 lakh households have taps fitted and are getting piped water supply. Some 10 lakh households are set to get tapped water supply in the next few weeks.
In Andhra Pradesh, people are having a trying time in many of the villages in the 257 mandals declared drought-hit in February, 2019. The situation is reported to be severe in 228 of the mandals. Drought triggered exodus of farm workers from area such as Yemmiganur in Kurnool district, while in Chennai, IT companies have been asking their staff to work from home in view of the water scarcity. With over 50 major sources going dry, some 12,300 villages in northern Maharashtra were being provided with drinking water by engaging over 5,100 tankers fitted with GPS trackers. The situation is said to be worsening further with rising temperatures and persisting dry spells, forcing people to travel up to 15 km to get a single bucket of water.
The project is designed to draw about 59.94 TMC of water including 3.92 TMC from HMWSSB Yellampally line, and envisages supply of treated drinking water to every household at their doorstep at the rate of 100 LPCD in rural areas, 135 LPCD in Municipalities and Nagar Panchayats and 150 LPCD in Municipal Corporations. About 10 per cent of total water is earmarked to meet the industrial needs which in turn will create employment and catalyse economic growth.
Barring some 14 villages under the Singur project that went dry this summer, water supply under Mission Bhagiratha has been bang on target in the State. The supply to villages under the dam is taken care of by drawing water from local sources engaging tankers. It is a unique and most comprehensive project that will cover 71.61 lakh households on a saturation mode after its completion, says Reddy, while assuring every village in the State will be free of drinking water problem this year.