GUWAHATI, June 26: With the Ambubachi Mela in full flow, water shortage has come to haunt the residents of Kamakhya. During this time of the year, the city has thousands of devotees coming in from different parts of the world who are now forced to buy bottled water to even take a bath.
Even though the government and private agencies have volunteers distributing free drinking water, disproportionate supply of piped water to the local households is the cause of misery for many. With many of the devotees living in the houses of local residents, the volume of water required by these households has increased.
“The local residents, who give shelter to the devotees during the Ambubachi Mela, are facing acute shortage of water. The normal supply of municipal water is not adequate to fulfil the needs of so many people staying in the area,” Jyoti Prasad Sarma, a resident of Kamakhya, said.
As the house owners face pressure from the devotees, many of whom pay to stay in the houses, for adequate water, the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) has said that it is not in a position to increase the supply of water to cater to so many people living in the area. Normally, GMC provides 30 lakh litre of water everyday to the residents of Kamakhya, Kalipur and Maligaon. Now with thousands of devotees flocking the city because of the Mela, the municipal body is running short of piped water.
“On an average, each household in the Kamakhya region, who have GMC water connections, get around 1,000 litre of piped water everyday. Because of the Mela, GMC is now supplying around 1,800 to 2,000 litres of water to the households. Despite this, there remains a shortage but considering the machinery constraints and other factors, we are not in a position to further increase the water supply,” Manoranjan Bharali, superintending engineer at GMC, said.
The residents, however, are not satisfied with the explanation that GMC has provided. Vipin Agarwal, who is presently residing in a house at Kamakhya said, “Water pipes are running dry. There is an acute shortage of water for bathing because of which I had to buy packaged drinking water as I had no other option.”
The state tourism department had estimated some 25 lakh people to visit the Mela which is ending tomorrow. GMC is thus facing difficulty to cope up with the water demands of such high number of devotees who have come to the city from around the world. (TNN)