Shortage of drinking water has created a major problem in Odisha. Several water bodies and minor irrigation points at different districts dried up due to the scorching heat of summer and drought.
In this context, the Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) has issued a notice to the state government seeking a report on the shortage of drinking water in the state.
It has directed the government to submit the report within eight weeks.
On April, 2015, activist Sangita Swain has filed a petition before the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) who transferred the case to OHRC later.
After receiving the case, the state body of the commission passed the order on February 29.
In her petition, Swain had alleged that one crore villagers of Odisha face scarcity of potable water.
She also informed the commission that quality of ground water at several places in the state was not fit for consumption.
This problem couldn’t be solved during these years despite government’s implementation of several schemes to address the issue.
Swain said water crisis in Nuapada, Kalahandi, Balangir, Kandhamal, Keonjhar and other districts need to be addressed soon. After less rainfall, around 22 districts of the state had faced drought. Now people of these districts face drinking water problem, she added.
She prayed before the commission to take necessary steps to provide drinking water immediately to the general public.
“Since the issue raised by the petitioner is general in nature, the commission desires that let copy of the letter of NHRC and news clippings be sent to rural development department principal secretary and EIC, RWSS, Bhubaneswar for inquiring into the allegation and submit their respective reports to the commission within eight weeks,” said the OHRC in its fresh order.
The rights body has set May 23 as the next hearing date in the case.
Recently, the women wing of Congress had staged a demonstration in front of the offices of district collectors across the state protesting the state government’s failure to address the issue. They had broken earthen pots near their dharna place as a mark of protest.
Though the Naveen Patnaik-led government on Wednesday dedicated 100 drinking water projects to the state, people of affected areas will bear the brunt of water woes for this year. Opposition parties criticized the government’s ‘public stunt’ during the difficult time.
Courtesy: The Times of India