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Water agency lacks experts

The state groundwater directorate, which has been grappling with severe manpower crunch since its inception in 2008, received another jolt when its director and lone hydrogeologist S.L.S. Jageshwar retired in September.

Although water resources department, the parent body of the directorate, gave additional charge of the important post to superintendent engineer D.K. Singh, it has so far done nothing to recruit hydrogeologists.

In fact, all the 16 posts of hydrogeologists, 11 chemists and one geophysicist are lying vacant in the directorate, which is responsible for maintaining aquifer and restoring water bodies, since 2008.

“Keeping a tab on groundwater is a full-time job. It is because of this reason that a separate wing was carved out. But there are not enough staff,” said former director Jageshwar.

For a state like Jharkhand, which is blessed with rich flora and fauna, balanced groundwater table holds the key to thriving agriculture. It is here where the role of a hydrogeologist becomes important. Such an expert can study the geological nature of a field and offer suggestions on how to increase the water table and build check dams. But in the absence of trained technical specialists, water bodies are dying a slow death.

Water resource secretary Avinash Kumar said they had written to Central Groundwater Directorate after Jageshwar’s retirement, seeking someone to fill up the vacancy on deputation. “Recently, I sent another reminder. We can’t do anything till the central agency takes a call.”