S Henlly Phom
Dimapur, April 20 (EMN): A decade has passed by since Longleng was declared as the tenth district of Nagaland, and yet the district town continues to struggle for basic services. From unsuitable road connectivity to poor supply of electricity to indispensable need of water sources, the district is a definition of underdeveloped area in terms of accessibility to basic requisites. But what the district need is the fundamental requirement of water it has been deprived of for as long as its residents could remember. The new generation has not experienced the luxury of free water at their doorstep.
With passage of time, people struggling to get potable water are emblematic of the insightful water challenges that the district faces. During the dry season, from November through April, many in this corner of Nagaland struggle to avail potable water. Some are forced to walk long distances to fill their jerrycans from rivers or streams –few which are not potable.
Since inception, the town has been suffering from lack of proper and hygienic drinking water and even after having pressed the government with several representations, the district remains neglected and nothing concrete has been done for the benefit of the people.
The people rejoice on rainy days and it is only during the monsoon season that they don’t have to slog running to and fro to fetch water.
The sight of children as young as 5-year-olds with the water carriers strapped on their heads – to put in plain words – waiting on their turn to fill their cans is pitiful while they have to sacrifice their valuable time of early morning study hour lest they run out of water.
According to an official source from the PHE department Longleng, the reason behind water issue in the district is due to the town’s high geographical elevation.
“It is difficult to bring water source in such high altitude location. However in 2010-2011 a survey was conducted for water source in Sakshi village which is about 25 km from Longleng town and a detailed project report (DPR) survey was submitted to the state government which has not been approved yet”, confided the official from PHE department, Longleng. If the project is approved the district will benefit while water issue to an extent can be controlled, he said.
“During early 1980’s the water supply in Longleng district was drawn from the source known as Yingnyushang stream but due to depletion of source no water supply exists at this present day”, he added.
Considering the hardships faced by the people of the town, the department is trying its best to get the project approval from the government. The department has executed deep tube well, rain water harvest, gravity scheme, traditional well etc. at various village level in order to meet the demand for water supply, it was informed.
As per sources, out of the 40 villages under Longleng district, only about 8 to 9 villages enjoy water supply and the rest has to rely on rain harvesting or some government sanctioned tube well/ bore well and gravity water supply system.
“As a district, there is a serious scarcity of water. There is no water supply in the hospital, officer quarter and no pipe line in Longleng district head quarter, no water reservoir”, lamented Hongkam D Ngonyen, president of Phom Students Conference. Come winter season, people have to fetch water from far-off watercourse, said the student leader.
Proposals had been submitted to the state government but to no avail. Due to water scarcity there is no effective performance from various departments in times of emergency and people have to buy water at Rs 10 per gallon or so, shared Ngonyen.
“Shortage of water affects the life of students as well. Children have to line up for filling water till morning for their turn. The dry season is still harsher as people wait in turn to fill their jerrycans by evening while some are already up in wee hours”, said Ngonyen.
Longleng residents fight water scarcity
S Henlly Phom