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Relief trickle for thirsty city

Contract worker Lakhi Gorai has to pay Rs 70 a day to an auto operator to transport water containers from a community tap at Bara in Agrico, 6km from his residence in Baridih Basti. He also gets his chance at the tap after standing in queue for an hour

Petty plumber Madhusudhan Tantubai cycles 3km everyday to fetch water from a community tap in Sidhgora to his Bagunhatu home

More than five lakh people outside Tata Steel command areas in Jamshedpur and its outskirts are reeling under an acute water crisis, but Jusco and East Singhbhum officials are gearing up to meet the challenge.

Tata Steel subsidiary Jusco, which looks after water supplies in Tata Steel areas, from Thursday, has deployed four tanks mounted on two distribution vans to the district administration to reach water in parched areas.

“Each water tank of 2,000-litre capacity and four taps will be available at the offices of the SDO or Jamshedpur Notified Area Committee (JNAC). Vehicles would be rushed immediately where needed,” said Jusco spokesperson Rajesh Rajan.

East Singhbhum administration, in a knee-jerk reaction, has deputed senior administrative officials in all 11 blocks of the district for constant monitoring of the grim water scenario from Tuesday.

“Senior officials will review the water scenario and present their report to East Singhbhum deputy commissioner,” said East Singhbhum deputy development commissioner Lal Mohan Mahto.

Overexploitation of groundwater has led to decline in groundwater table by nearly 100 feet in the last seven-eight years. The water table, which could be found at 40-50ft in 2005-06, is now at 120-150ft in the city and adjoining areas according to data available with the directorate of ground water resources, an unit of state water resources department.

The directorate of ground water resources kept Jamshedpur blocks under the over-exploited category, meaning where water extraction is more than recharge.

In and around Jamshedpur, several companies have come up on areas by filling lakes. Buildings and residential plots have come up in areas by clearing groves of trees. Several wells have gone dry and tube wells defunct.

Executive engineer of drinking water and sanitation department, Jamshedpur division, Suresh Prasad admitted many tube wells were defunct on city outskirts.

“We will send a proposal to the state for sanction to install extra deep well pumps in view of depleting groundwater table in parched areas, especially Parsudih, Kitadih, Ghaghidih and Bagbera,” he said.

“Earlier, we had to dig boring wells till 100ft and could easily get water. Now, we have to dig boring wells for over 200ft. People face horrible times in summer heat,” said Anand Bihari Dubey, Congress leader and Baridih resident.