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Power and water crisis plague Tura

Tura, April 28: Unabated heat, coupled with frequent load shedding, has led to a severe water shortage in most localities here.

The Garo hills town has of late seen temperatures go up to 39 degrees Celsius, the highest in the last three decades.

Generally, the temperature here ranges between 25 and 29 degrees Celsius in summer.

Yesterday’s rain was expected to bring some relief, but a technical snag at the Nongalbibra transformer in South Garo Hills led to power cuts for nearly 15 hours in the day, making life miserable for residents.

From March till the onset of the monsoon, a majority of the localities in Tura town face regular water shortage.

West Garo Hills deputy commissioner Pravin Bakshi said, “We have called for an urgent water crisis meeting and are working out the modalities with the public health engineering department.”

According to figures of the PHE department, Tura needs 3.1 million gallons of water a day.

Officials in the department say that there is a shortfall of nearly 6 lakh gallons per day.

In Tura, the public health engineering department and the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council see to the distribution of water.

PHE executive engineer Saljrang Sangma said, “This is the lean season and as such there is a problem of water shortage. While we have been trying to draw water all through the day, we have not been able to do so during the evening hours because of low voltage.”

He said the Meghalaya Electricity Corporation Limited (MeECL) has failed to adhere to its promise of providing 24-hour electricity to the department.

“In 1998, we had taken up the matter with MeECL for a dedicated electricity connection, which is yet to materialise,” he added.

The water problem is not being taken up seriously by the GHADC, which refuses to even participate in water crisis meeting being convened by the district administration.

“There is a huge depletion in the catchment areas, leading to the drying up of streams. Something concrete needs to be done for a permanent solution to the problem. The GHADC should make all efforts to protect these areas or the water crisis is set to get worse in the coming years,” said Sangma.

Tura Municipal Board is supplying water in different localities at Rs 4 a litre (a minimum of 1,00 litres being sold).

The private suppliers are charging Rs 5 per litre but the transport costs range from Rs 1,000 to Rs 2,000 per local trip.

Nearby water sources like Ganol, a river located nearly 5km from here, and Eden Bari is flooded with people. Most of them are using the water sources for bathing and washing clothes. Ganol is the main source of water for Tura.