JK Govt refused to take consignment, cited ‘absence of generators’
When flood-hit Srinagar was craving for safe drinking water, a shipment of hi-tech water purifiers sent by the Telengana government for use in the ravaged summer capital had no takers from the state government for several days. It took the intervention from the Government of India to alert the J&K government—which remained absent from ground for more than a week—to respond to this helping hand from outside.
Sources said a few days after the floods, which wreaked havoc in Srinagar and elsewhere, hit the essential services including supply of drinking water, the Telengana government flew 20 ‘reverse osmosis purifiers’ to Srinagar for use by the state government to provide safe drinking water to the flood-hit people.
“Nobody from the Public Health Engineering department received the consignment for days, citing they don’t have generator sets required to run them,” a senior official told Greater Kashmir.
These purifiers which are wheel mounted have high-grade inbuilt water purifying facility. They are “ultimate water purifiers” and don’t only treat suspended particles in water but dissolve content as well, including iron and insecticides.
“They only allow water molecules through the reverse osmosis process,” said the official. “The state government authorities should have been more than happy to receive these purifiers to use them in the flood hit areas to avoid any threat of water-borne diseases. It was a goodwill gesture by the Telengana government.”
Huge drinking water crisis had broken out in Srinagar and other affected districts of south Kashmir–Islamabad and Kulgam–after the floods hit the Valley. Volunteers from across Kashmir, who carried out the relief and rescue operations, would carry the drinking water including packaged bottle water with them to the city and other affected districts for supplying them to affected families. The effect of the water crisis was more felt in Srinagar.
Sources said the government of India had to send its consultant for National Drinking Water Mission and a senior employee from the company, which supplies and manufactures the purifiers, to the union government under the water mission program.
“The state authorities responded too late and that too after the initial phase of crisis was over,” the official said.
Another official said while some purifiers were installed in worst-hit Mehjoor Nagar, Raj Bagh Bund and outside Bone & Joint hospital in Srinagar, some of them were dispatched to districts where the equipments were “not required at all.”
“At least six of these purifiers were sent to Baramulla and a few of them to other districts,” the official said.
He said another problem was that men flown with the purifiers felt that the state government was “very late” in formally placing the order for putting the purifiers in use.
As per norms under the National Water Drinking Mission, the state government has to pay 20 paisa for every liter of water to be purified in these machines.
“There was no order placed by the state authorities for first few days and the people managing these purifiers were shocked over the delayed response,” said the official. “These people got annoyed to the extent that at one point, after some days of wait, they decided to take ring up the authorities in the government of India and call it a day.”
The flood, which first inundated south Kashmir, hit Srinagar on September 7. The natural calamity resulted from continuous rainfall for more than a week during first week of September resulting in massive water flow in Jhelum which originates from south Kashmir and after snaking through Srinagar and Baramulla enters the Pakistan administered Kashmir.
These purifiers are fed with continuous supply of water from an inlet and safe drinking water can be received from the outlet. These machines either run on direct power supply or batteries (generator sets).