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Protest flows from dry taps

Berhampur, April 18: The Congress today staged a protest rally against the persisting water crisis in the city.

Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee secretary Bikram Panda led the rally of protestors, who carried empty pots and raised slogans against the BJD and its leaders.

“People in Berhampur are fed up with the promises made by the BJD to solve drinking water problems. Despite repeated vows, the city continues to face water shortage every summer. The Congress will not tolerate this and we will intensify our agitation if BJD turns a blind eye to the situation,” Panda said.

A high-level meeting chaired by chief minister Naveen Patnaik last March had discussed issues related to drinking water crisis in Berhampur and remedial measures to curb it.

Officials had said a new drinking water treatment plant, which is now under construction at Dakhinpur on the outskirts of the city, would become operational by April 15. “But, the plant has not yet commissioned,” said Town Congress president Sanjit Kumar Panigrahi. Bhagaban Gantayat, president, District Congress Committee said the state government had completely failed to supply drinking water to Berhampur.

“The Congress will hit the streets to raise the issue of the water crisis plaguing Ganjam,” he said.The Congress also submitted a memorandum addressed to the chief minister through the sub-collector of Berhampur demanding a permanent solution to the water crisis in Berhampur. It also demanded withdrawal of the enhanced electricity tariff.

Berhampur’s 4.50 lakh inhabitants require at least 50 million litres of water a day (MLD). But they have to be content with 37 MLD. Thus, there is a shortage of 13 MLD. The city gets 37 MLD of water every day from three sources — Dakhinpur 17 MLD, Rushikulya 16 MLD and production wells 4 MLD. During summer, the amount gets reduced drastically and the total supply comes down to 27 MLD or less, according to official sources.