Amid an outbreak of water-borne diseases in different areas of Kashmir Valley, a recent survey by NITI Aayog has nailed the state government for doing little to detect harmful ingredients in the water being supplied to the people and has also claimed that the J&K government has not been able to provide safe drinking water to its people.
In various villages of Kokernag in South Kashmir, there is an outbreak of Hepatitis-C which has claimed over a dozen lives so far and the disease has not been controlled.
A recent survey by NITI Aayog has revealed that about 30% of population in the state is getting untreated tap water, resulting in various water-borne diseases. The survey has triggered a lot of debate and a probe by the Governor’s administration, as the local authorities have been showing on paper that 85-90% of the population is getting drinking water from treated sources.
After the survey became public, the state authorities have ordered a probe and have asked the state Public Health Engineering (PHE) Department to provide details of the implemented schemes in the rural areas to support their claim. Senior engineers of the Department have said that the survey is not correct and they will provide the figures to the government about various schemes to show that treated drinking water is being supplied to the major chunk of the population.
PHE chief engineer Kashmir Ghulam Muhammad Bhat has said that the survey is not factually correct and said that he will come to the press after the data is collected from the various divisions about consumers who are being provided with treated water supply.
“Right now, we are collecting data about the number of consumers and about the implementation of schemes in various rural areas. We will rebut the survey by facts,” Bhat told The Sunday Guardian.
The NITI Aayog survey has revealed that only around 63% of the total consumers of the PHE Department have access to tap water. It further revealed that only 30% of them get the tap water from treated sources. The remaining 30% out of these 63% consumers were getting drinking water from untreated sources, the survey revealed, adding the state, despite having the required funds, has not been able to create a water-testing hi-tech laboratory where they could detect presence of harmful toxics. The PHE Department, however, has claimed that they have 40 testing labs functioning in Kashmir Division, but lack the latest equipment to detect the presence of pesticides or zinc level in the drinking water being supplied to the people in the state.