Mangaluru: Petrol contaminates wells - leaves people struggling for drinking water

Mohan Kuthar

Daijiworld Media Network - Mangaluru (SP)

Mangaluru, Nov 8: The plight of people living at Kanekere in Deralakatte within Belma gram panchayat limits near here in getting proper drinking water has rung alarm bells for the people living around this area. It is gathered that this situation has arisen due to petrol getting mixed with well water.

This problem has been persisting in five wells at Kanekere. In the past, wells in the area had got contaminated with effluents flowing into Kanekere located at a lower level. These effluents were flowing in from the commercial-cum-residential complex at Deralakatte Junction. Even after the villagers sought help from the district administration, this problem had persisted.

Later, Belma grama panchayat had sealed the pipe discharging effluents of the building, after which the problem looked like having been solved to some extent. However, the mental peace of the residents of the area was short-lived, as the wells in the area started generating oily water. The residents took out water from the well on Tuesday night and found that it reeked of petrol. When an attempt was made to light water, fire got ignited. As a result of contamination, about 50 persons have been deprived of drinking water. Although the panchayat supplies water, as the households find it insufficient, they are facing a situation in which they have to buy tanker water at exorbitant rates.

Usman, a resident of Kanekere, claims that the problem has arisen on account of leakage from a petrol bunk operating from Deralakatte Junction. He said that he had approached the manager of the bunk and complained to him, but he responded by saying that no leakage has been happening in the bunk, and if there was any, it would have reflected in the quantum of petrol available in the petrol bunk. Usman said that his request to the manager to personally verify the complaint was not given serious consideration.

Mosquito breeding ground

In the past, complaints had been filed against Prestige and Siddi View private buildings to primary health centre Belma and district administration. The problem persisted for four years since 2013, and Balme gram panchayat closed the effluents pipe in 2017. Now, the buildings continue to release effluents even though the pipes are sealed, as a result of which mosquitoes are breeding here on a large scale. Young children, who form a big chunk of the local populace, suffer from cuts and wounds on their bodies left behind by mosquito bites.

The health department too has advised people against consumption of the well water. The villagers are concerned about bouts of ill health they have been suffering from frequently. Another villager, Irshad Ismail, said that the village might witness disaster of epidemic proportions if the concerned fail to act now.

Belma gram panchayat vice president, Sattar, said that the well water samples would be sent for testing, and based on the report, legal steps would be taken against the petrol bunk management.