Saturday, Nov 21, 2020 13:15 [IST]
Last Update: Saturday, Nov 21, 2020 07:47 [IST]
NAMCHI: Local residents of Lower Ghurpisey near Namchi have opposed the alleged exploitation of their only natural drinking water source GhatteyKhola during a particular festival celebration. They contended that use of bulldozers on the already drying stream and celebration activities threatens the water security of 40 and more houses of Lower Ghurpisey.
While the annual celebration helps in holding rituals and other activities, the local residents maintain that they have a hard time to preserve the water source post-celebration. The GhatteyKhola in past used to be a perennial source of water but over the years has trickled down to a small stream.
Use of bulldozers to level the site for the festival later causes landslides and flash floods and soil erosion on both sides of the river, according to the locals. The one-day celebration leaves behind lot of wastes also, they said.
Local residents were determined to at least stop the use of earthmovers this year but it is alleged that the machine was used during the Diwali holidays without permission from the authorities concerned. They managed to stop the bulldozer that time with the festival celebration members agreeing not to use the machine again and also not to use firecrackers this time.
However, on the wee hours of November 19, the villagers found an earthmover being used at the spot and they objected to it. It is alleged that the other side boasted about their political connections while the local villagers insisted that no one should exploit or threaten their only drinking water source.
As per the locals, it is not justified that the drinking water source is threatened for a long term just for a one-day celebration. People who come to conduct the festival rituals at the stream never show up later and do not even think once about the preservation of the venue where they perform important rituals, said the locals.
“They never do cleanliness and plantation drives here or undertake any activity to help in preserving the water source. But when their festival comes, they appear with bulldozers and go to the extent of threatening the villagers. We have done numerous plantation drives and even guarded the spot during nights to prevent people from throwing garbage into the stream,” said the Lower Ghurpiseyrsidents.
They appealed the administration to intervene as water from GhatteyKhola caters to more than 40 families of the area. The water source needs to be protected in every way possible, they said.
The local residents maintained that they are not against the festival or any community. We are concerned about our only water source and environment which must be preserved and respected as shortage of drinking water supply is a perennial problem in Namchi, said the Lower Ghurpisey villagers.
Pic: An earthmover being used at GhatteyKhola area in Lower Ghurpisey, Namchi. SE Pic