Rajesh Rai | Samtse
After pumping nearly Nu 40 million in a project to supply clean drinking water, residents of Tashichholing (Sipsu) are still waiting for water.
The new water line from Biruchhu, a Nu 40 million (M) project has failed to supply drinking water. A huge reservoir tank and a distribution tank just above Gola Bazaar have become an eyesore.
Supply from this reservoir remains shut after the first failed attempt. The pipe joints broke due to pressure, Tashichholing residents said.
The project started in January 2016 with funding under the Small Development Project of the Government of India. The first contractor was terminated and the project was awarded to another contractor later.
Gola Bazaar’s town secretary Namgay said the new water supply scheme was a failure.
“And the old one keeps on breaking frequently,” he said. “Our drinking water problem has been one neglected case.”
Today, Tashichholing villagers, including those in Gola Bazaar drink from the old water supply line of Sipsuchhu. This water line was constructed in 1975 and the pipes often break down disrupting water supply.
Sipsuchhu water was found unsafe for drinking when tested, villagers said.
Namgay also said there is no plumber or a fitter to work on the old connection whenever required. The town secretary and a few of his friends at Gola town mend the line whenever necessary.
Nar Bahadur Rai, a businessman said it was unfortunate. “The Sipsuchhu water was declared unsafe for drinking about four to five years ago,” he said, explaining this could be mainly because there were villages above the source. “But we still have to drink the water.”
Nar Bahadur Rai, however, said the water quality could have improved considering villagers at the source have constructed toilets.
Shivaraj Ghalley of Gola Bazaar said he doesn’t understand why there is no supply from the new line. It is because there are no other options, people still drank from the old supply line, he added.
Just about 10 minutes walk away from the Gola town, the old rusted pipe connections are almost falling, which has caused leakages and supply disruption.
Tashichholing gup Samir Giri said he has failed to understand why the project that started several years ago has not yet materialised and benefited the people.
“In our gewog, the new supply line would actually supply water up to Peljorling,” he said, adding that every winter the gewog faces water shortage.
The gup, however, said it is not under the gewog and that he has no idea what has happened. “There is a need for a proper investigation and inquiry so that it is channelised properly.”