Come summer and rural population in tribal-dominated Sundargarh district can be seen walking miles for collecting water. But, not anymore. The scene in rural Sundargarh has changed for the better. At least four lakh people would have assured safe drinking water through solar dual pump sets and Reverse Osmosis (RO) plants.
During peak summer remote rural pockets, particularly the non-electrified villages, face acute scarcity of safe drinking water. This summer the district administration seems prepared to reduce drinking water drudgery of a substantial chunk of rural people.
Administrative sources informed that in 2015-16 and 2016-17 the district had taken up about 1,080 solar dual pump set projects of which about 220 remaining projects would be made operational before summer.
It is learnt that Odisha Renewable Energy Development Agency (OREDA) through Rural Water Supply and Sanitation (RWSS) has complete about 560 solar pump projects and 44 remaining projects are nearing completion. Similarly, the Sundargarh District Rural Development Agency (DRDA) under the Gopabandhu Gramin Yojana has completed 175 such projects in 2015-16, while in 2016-17 about 300 more projects are taken up and around 120 completed.
RWSS sources said, in non-electrified villages the solar dual pumps are fitted to existing tube-wells and through sensor technology the overhead tanks of 5,000 liters each get filled up on rotation. Each project costs about `4.6 lakh and covers 250-300 villagers.
Significantly, RO plant projects with capacities of 50, 100, 500 and 1,000 liters per hour (lph) are also being implemented at the most populated Gram Panchayat (GP) headquarters or villages in 250 GPs including 39 model GPs. It envisages to rest the ownership of water purification projects with respective GPs. Total installation cost of a RO plant of 1,000 lph varies between Rs 8 lakh and Rs 10 lakh and covers about 1,000 persons with potable drinking water.
Sundargarh Collector Bhupendra Singh Poonia said the solar pump projects, work on which have been completed, are producing effective results at targeted locations including all 21 remote and hilly villages under Paudi Bhuiyan Development Agency in Lahunipara block.
The RO plants on completion would also ensure safe drinking water to targeted populations, he said adding the administration is in the process of renovation and upgradation of existing water supply projects. He asserted to take up the water supply projects in uncovered areas.