The economic capital of North Bihar, Muzaffarpur is speedily heading towards an acute groundwater crisis. With rising temperature and heat wave, residents of Muzaffarpur city are in living mayhem as unavailability of groundwater in most of the areas has caused massive distress.
With Muzaffarpur Municipal Corporation’s (MMC) seemingly deaf ear towards the crisis, the locals are turning furious on the delay in action. The situation has worsened in the last 2-3 months. While the roadside digging to fit in the water pipeline has been done, the pipes were found hanging with the help of a mare string.
The total area under the jurisdiction of Muzaffarpur Municipal Corporation (MMC) is about 26.68 km-square (2668.44 Ha). The town is divided into 49 wards. People residing in areas such as Saraiyya Ganj, Akhada Ghat, Muzaffarpur Junction, Pankhatoli, Malighat are facing extreme water crisis. Going by a rough estimate, 4.75 lakh people in 28 wards, who require 4,000 lakh gallon water every day, are amongst the worst hit. Locals claim that even private handpumps installed in houses have gone dry.
Inaction by the Municipal Corporation and Sitting MLA
The sitting MLA of Muzaffarpur city is Bharatiya Janata Party’s Suresh Sharma. The saffron party, currently holds power in state government in alliance with Nitish Kumar’s JDU.
Ironically Sharma is Bihar’s Urban Development Minister. In his constituency, people are neck deep in a water crisis since months but a concrete solution and relief is yet to reach the needy.
As per sources, the minister has asked the municipal corporation officials to install submersible pumps in the region with water scarcity but locals are waiting for immediate prompt action.
The civic body has 17 water pumping stations in different locations of 28 wards but most of them are defunct. A tanker of the MMC having a capacity of 12,000 litre makes three to four trips in the colony per week, from which people store water for household work. However, the tanker has not arrived to the colonies for the last six days.
Hardly 50% of the residents have access to tap water supplied by the municipal body. Other people fetch sub-surface water with high fluoride and arsenic content to meet their need.
Speaking on inaction by civic body officials, Suryadeep Kumar, resident of Pankhatoli ward no. 25 said – Muzaffarpur Municipal Corporation officials in no manner are bothered about our problem. We fetch water from distant areas for daily activities. This city was labeled to be a “Smart City” and ironically the city is undergoing the worst crisis of water unavailability. We are also disheartened at the ignorant behaviour of our MLA, who is also the Urban development minister in Bihar government and has not taken any action.
Probable reason behind ground water crisis
Firstly, the water consumption has taken a form of water wastage in daily life. Secondly, Sikanderpur Mann lake is under massive encroachment by land mafias which has hit hard the additional water availability. Many lakes and small water bodies in city and nearby areas were destroyed over the last decade.
Muzaffarpur lies between the Burhi Gandak River and Furdoo nallah. Noted social activist and member of water conservation movement, Anil Praksh while talking exclusively to Newsd said, “Low rainfall in the region over the last decade is the primary reason behind this crisis. Even the duration of the monsoon season has shortened. The water level has dipped 30 feet. Moreover water level has also dipped in the vicinity of Burhi Gandak river.
Taking a dig at Bihar government’s “Nal-Jal Yojna” he added this scheme to provide water to every household is a big farce which exists only on paper and not on the ground.