MINGORA: The residents of different areas in Gumbat Maira, a suburban area of Mingora, on Sunday protested against the provincial government and Water Supply and Sanitation Company, Swat, for failing to provide water to them.

The protesters said that they were facing acute shortage of water for the last five months. They said that Gumbat Maira, Pattaney, Rang Mohallah and Malookabad were congested areas of Mingora city where over 40,000 people lived, but the government never took steps to resolve the water supply problems there.

Salman Khan, a resident of Gumbat Maira, said that the residents staged several protests and blocked major roads, but neither the elected representatives nor WSSC resolved the issue.

Complain govt, WSSC not taking steps to resolve the issue

The residents said that many wells in the area had dried up and the people had to depend for water supply on WSSC, which was established by the PTI government.

“When we staged a protest last time, an MPA and WSSC officials promised to start digging a tubewell for the area on emergency basis. Though work on the tubewell was started, it is slow as in one month they had dug only 70 feet and at such a speed it could take four to five more months to be operational,” said Imran Khan, another resident of Gumbat Maira.

The residents said that presently water tankers were supplying them water from Swat River for Rs1,000 per tanker, but it was unaffordable for the poor people.

They demanded of the provincial government to install a gravity pipeline from Sangota area to the water tanks constructed on the mountain of Gumbat Maira.

The residents threatened that if their water supply issue was not resolved they would stage a protest in front of the provincial assembly.

When contacted, WSSC CEO Sheeda Mohammad said that the issue surfaced as the water table went down by more than 40 feet in one year due to which majority of the tubewells either dried up or the water discharge halved.

“We have also approved water supply to the area from a water tank in Rang Mohallah,” he said. He said that the federal government with the support of ADB had approved a gravity water supply scheme for Mingora which was in the design phase. He said that once this scheme was completed the water crisis in Mingora and its suburbs would be resolved.

Published in Dawn, September 9th, 2019