Cap abandoned borewells within 15 days, says ZP CEO

Zilla panchayat chief executive officer (CEO) Dr M R Ravi directed the executive engineers to make a list of defunct/abandoned borewells (both private and government-owned) and initiate measures to cap them.

A large number of defunct borewells are continuing to be death traps in rural Dakshina Kannada.

Speaking at the zilla panchayat meeting here on Wednesday, he said the taluk panchayat executive officers (EOs) and gram panchayat panchayat development officers (PDOs) have been directed to initiate measures to fill up unused borewells in the district. According to an estimate, there are over 5,000 borewells dug by the government under various schemes and 33,000 private borewells in the district. However, there is no information on accurate defunct borewells. The state government, in its guidelines in 2014, had directed land owners to take written permission from the authorities to dig borewells, compulsory registration of all drilling agencies, construction of a cement platform around the well casing, capping of the well by welding steel plates and filling up unused borewells. To check sinking of borewells illegally, the government also made it mandatory for those digging borewells to take permission from the local authorities to ensure regulation of borewells and their location and minimise the problem of uncapped pits. If any mishap occurs, then criminal case would be filed against land owners and rig owners as well, he warned.

Earlier, zilla panchayat members said there are several uncapped borewells in the villages. When 15 to 20 borewells are sunk in a day, more than half become defunct due to unavailability of water. Such defunct borewells are left as it is without capping. There is a need to assign the responsibility of capping the borewells to PDOs, the members said.

When members said that geologist hired on contract-basis in Puttur taluk has not been able to identify the source of water for borewell points, the ZP CEO said the district has only one geologist. As there is a need for a few more geolists, he said he has instructed to take the services of two more persons in the department for identifying the source of water.

Rural electrification
Mescom official said that work under Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY), which aims at electrifying the house of BPL families, would commence in the district from next month.

As per the list available with the Mescom, 4,270 households would be covered under the scheme. However, the BPL card holders who were left out will also be included. Under the scheme, the contractor will lay the electric poles and take up the work on wiring in the household, to light a bulb free of cost. When zill panchayat president Meenakshi Shanthigodu said that contractors have been demanding Rs 3,000 to Rs 5,000 to electrify the houses under DDUGJY, the official clarified that Mescom do not collect money from the beneficiaries. The people should compulsorily produce BPL ration card and Aadhaar when the contractor comes to the house for conducting a survey.

No water
Member Vinod Bellur said there is acute shortage of drinking water in Sasihithlu and Pavanje with the salt water intrusion on wells and other water bodies. Even the doctors have confirmed the increase in illness among the villagers after they consumed high saline content in water. No efforts have been made by the PDO to supply water through tankers. The ZP CEO directed the taluk panchayat EO and assistant executive engineer to visit the spot and ensure water is supplied through tankers daily.
 

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