‘No potable water for 32 years’: A north Kashmir village battling water borne diseases

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For more than thirty-years, a village in north Kashmir is not receiving potable water but is forced to consume contaminated water, which is received from the borewells. 

Local residents of Humpora village in Langate area of north Kashmir’s Kupwara district say that they have been facing this crisis for decades. The Village Welfare Committee (VWC) told The Kashmir Walla that the unavailability of clean water has given rise to water borne diseases in the village.

In 2017, as per the VWC, the Jal-Shakti sub-division Handwara’s water testing laboratory declared all wells in the village contaminated and is yet to solve the issue. 

“We are facing an immense water crisis,” said Mushtaq Ahmad, a member of the VWC. “The contaminated water we are being forced to drink is totally unhygienic and gives rise to water-borne diseases in the village.”

A temporary solution though has been that the local residents collect clean water from the nearby Nahama village. “Water pipeline here was axed 32 years ago but then it was never fixed,” a local resident told The Kashmir Walla.

He said that the new pipeline was later started from the Zagsundri village, however, the potable water reached every household in neighboring villages except Humpora. 

The local residents have accused the Jal Shakti Department for not paying attention to their pleas and accused the department “of playing with their lives”. 

“Our village was ignored for the reason better known to the Jal Shakti officials of Handwara,” said Abdul Rashid Mir, Lamberdar of the hamlet. “We have repeatedly approached and registered our protests with the government authorities but nothing substantial happened so far.”

The village has been facing health issues for many years now. “We protested so many times after a resident here was hospitalized along with his family, but nobody listened,” said another resident, Shahnawaz Teli.

An official of the Jal Shakti Department in Handwara said that the department has installed pipes to Humpora under the languishing program. 

“We have even written to north Kashmir’s Mechanical Division of Jal Shakti to start the operations of tube-well so that we can at least supply water to the village,” he said. 

He adds but so far nothing has been done in this regard and the local residents continue to eagerly wait for clean potable water.

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