Residents of several villages of district Baramulla accuse Public Health Department (PHE) of supplying contaminated drinking water on a regular basis, with doctors saying that there are chances of water borne diseases in various areas of North Kashmir’s Baramulla district.
People blame that the drinking water fetched from river Jhelum and other streams of the district is supplied to households without proper filtration by PHE department.
Residents of village Ladoora, Chakloo, Jahama, Tragpora, Ferozpora in Rafiabad and old town, Noorbagh, Kanlibagh and other areas of Baramulla town besides Sopore areas allege that the drinking water supplied by PHE department most of the times is contaminated. They said that most of the filtration plants are either dysfunctional or supply dirty, muddy water.
“The claim by the public health department officials of providing filtered water is a big lie. We use separate filters at our homes and often boil the water for drinking purposes. The PHE department is providing us with dirty water. Most of the times, we receive insects and dirt particles with the water,” Showkat Ahmad Rather, a resident of Ladoora Rafiabad said.
Residents of Ladoora while talking to Rising Kashmir said that even dead animals were found in a nearby Narbal filtration scheme recently that supplies drinking water to dozens of Rafiabad villages in Baramulla.
Officials at Public Health Department, however, blame the district administration especially Municipal Councils for not cleaning the garbage from river banks and streams. An official at PHE Baramulla said that the department supplies filtered water to households but the banks of rivers and streams are filled with garbage right from Srinagar up to Baramulla.
Talking to The Rising Kashmir, Executive Engineer PHE Baramulla Abdul Qayoom Chowdhary said that the department is supplying filtered water to people of Baramulla.
“We don’t deny that there are lacunae in our process but for that district administration and other departments associated with safeguarding water sources need to act in tandem. Mostly we fetch raw water from river Jhelum or Pohru but see the tones of garbage leaking into the rivers and streams. Municipal offices need to keep a check on the river banks and streams. From our side, we filter and use chemicals to make this contaminated raw water feasible for drinking purposes,” Chowdhary said.
Executive Engineer PHE Sopore said that the issue of polluted river banks was brought into the notice of district administration twice but no action has been taken yet. He said that there is no dumping site in Sopore so Municipal Council Sopore employees dump the garbage on river banks which pollutes the water bodies.
Locals of Sopore said that tonnes of garbage are dumped on river banks and on roadside by municipal officials on a daily basis.
Executive Officer Municipal Council, Baramulla Firdous Ahmad, however, asks various departments to work in tandem to keep the environment clean. He said that municipal councils are doing their bit but supplying contaminated water to households can't be blamed on the department.
“Coordination and cooperation is needed. I am ready to help every other department. We will make river banks neat and clean rather we have already started the mission. Irrigation and Flood Control department has various schemes; they can plant trees on the river banks, the administration must take up the steps to beautify the river banks. I guarantee to clean it up but we must not blame our incapabilities on others,” EO Baramulla Shah said.
Doctors at District Hospital Baramulla said that they receive hundreds of people from various parts of Baramulla district with strains of Hepatitis, including Hepatitis E, diarrheal diseases, including Cholera, Typhoid, and Dysentery caused by contaminated water. They said that there are chances of water borne diseases in parts of Baramulla district.