Protesters say work is incomplete and not all villages have been supplied
zhadim | July 30
The village of Zhadima, with the support of several neighboring villages, today blocked the commissioning of a water supply project for the RD block of Chiephobozou and surrounding villages, which was to be commissioned today at the surge tank site, Zhadima, Kohima district.
Villagers blocked the road leading to the reservoir site and prevented PHED Minister Jacob Zhimomi from inaugurating the project who was accompanied by Zhaleo Rio, Advisor, Sericulture and Excise and Minority Affairs; and Dr. Longriniken, Treasury and Accounts and National Roads Advisor.
Vizosielie Khoube, president of the Zhadima village youth, told the media that the villagers were restless due to the unfinished work, saying that while the department puts the water tank into operation, the supply will not was not provided to all villages.
Under the said project, 24 villages under the Chiephobozou RD block were to be connected to piped water supply. However, adequate and sufficient construction of water sub-reservoirs has not been constructed; according to the villagers, the distribution pipes were also not installed on the units.
In the case of Zhadima village, three small water tanks with a volume capacity of 1950 liters were equipped with only one tap each and no other distribution pipes. The villagers argue that this would not be enough for the village which has 875 households.
Prior to the unrest, the village of Zhadima submitted a representation to the department expressing its grievances in hopes of consultation on the ongoing project. However, according to the villagers, the department has not heeded the appeal of the people, nor expressed its status as works to the people.
The Minister of PHED had previously asked the villagers to authorize the inauguration of the project, assuring that by December 2019, the department would meet all the requirements. This was not accepted, with protesters insisting that the project should only be commissioned after water had reached all 24 villages.
“Our position is that unless the water reaches all 24 villages, we will not let the department inaugurate this project,” Roko Angami, secretary of Zhadima village VDB, told reporters. “We will file RTI on behalf of the village with the department,” he added.
He further questioned why the department is planning to hold the inauguration today if it encounters any technical issues.
Department responsible for holding the review meeting: Jacob
Meanwhile, PHED Minister Jacob Zhimomi informed that due to several technical factors, the department could only cover about 10 villages in the first stage of the project. “The next 14 villages will take more time because all this has financial complications,” he said and urged all villages to support the government.
“So mainly, our first objective is to cover the 10 villages. That was our intention today; that’s why we had come to Zhadima to commission the project,” the minister said.
He added that the department would hold a review meeting and take “the necessary steps to see justice done.” He assured that the government will explore possibilities “where we can fund this project so that people’s wants and needs are met”.
Dr Moangwati Aier, Principal Secretary, PHED in a press note informed that the project was sanctioned in 2011 funded by DONER for Rs 26. 2 Crore. The original plan was to supply water from the Dzulakie River using gravity, but this proved unfeasible. The department then changed the source to the Zhadima River, from which water was to be pumped to 10 villages in the 1st stage.
Aier said the remaining villages would be covered by deep tube wells, adding that the proposed additional requirements had been reviewed by the Jal Shakti ministry.
“Currently, 10 villages will get enough drinking water from the four reservoirs which are supplemented with the pumps and the remaining villages will be supplied with water from deep tube wells because the altitude of other villages is much higher than the reservoir of the village of Zhadima,” he said.
Aier further informed that land compensation has been paid to Zhadima landowners and the government has approved the appointment of four grade IV staff and two pump operators under the said project.
The principal secretary also informed that the connection of pipes to all households is not covered by the program. However, tanks and connections are made in khels / settlements etc. respective villages covered for drinking water supply.