Agra facing acute water crisis

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Agra, June 5 (IANS) Most parts of the Taj city went without water for the eighth day on Tuesday even as a series of programmes to highlight air and water pollution were being held on World Environment Day.

Residents of Peer Kalyani, Nagla Mahadev, Free Ganj, Belanganj, and dozens of colonies on the outskirts complained of no water supply, while in other areas, supply was erratic.

Officials said the cause was the dry Yamuna river and a series of technical snags. The main pipeline from the two water works burst at several points leading to wastage of water.

Half the city has gone dry as the pipeline from the Sikandra Water Works burst under pressure. The engineers have been on the repair job for the past few days.

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“This is peak summer when the demand for water is the maximum, but the municipal authorities have proved quite unequal to the challenge. The Mayor of Agra heads the water works, but he is not available to explain how long it would take for supply to be normal,” complained River Connect Campaign activist Shravan Kumar Singh.

Against a demand for 400 mld, the two water works can only supply around 200 mld. Thanks to the ubiquitous hand pumps, and numerous voluntary organisations that have put up water kiosks for pedestrians, the water scarcity has not evoked angry reactions, says Bankey Lal Maheshwari, who runs a network of water kiosks under the Srinathji Nishulk Jal Sewa.

Officials of the Jal Sansthan said the biggest problem was shortage of raw water in river Yamuna, as upstream barrages at Gokul and Okhla, were not releasing water.

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Agra District Magistrate, Gaurav Dayal has now written to the Gokul barrage management to release water for the city.

Local MLAs of the BJP say the water supply situation in Agra will improve drastically once the Rs 3000 crore Gangajal pipeline project becomes operational in August. The work on laying the last few kilometres of the pipeline has been held up for want of permission from the Supreme Court to chop 234 trees that come in the way.

Officials said the permission has now been received and work would resume shortly.

–IANS

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