GHALANAI: Following a long dry spell in Ghalanai, the administrative capital town of the Mohmand Agency, and the adjoining areas all the wells, tube wells and other sources of water have dried up creating acute water shortage of drinking and rocketing water tanker prices up to Rs2,000 in the region.
Particularly during the summer days residents of the area face such shortage every year and they cannot find drinking water except for at exorbitant prices.
Although some well-off people of the area sent water tankers to different areas to facilitate the needy tribesmen but still it is inadequate.
“We bring drinking water from a distance of about eight kilometers through private water tankers to our home as in Mohmand Agency several areas of the tribal region are facing severe shortage of drinking water,” said Mohammad Waseem.
Severe load shedding and low voltage reportedly resulted in shortage of potable water in the Haleemzai, border areas of Khwezai and Biazai tehsils of the Mohmand tribal region.
All these areas are facing 18 hours of load shedding and eight hours in the government colonies.
The government had spent Rs2.25 billion during the last few years on water supply schemes, but the issue of drinking water is still unresolved in Mohmand Agency, a tribal region having rugged mountains and barren slopes.
Tribal people said that wells and tube wells were built by the government in different areas of Mohmand Agency, but those could not fulfill their requirements. The water supply schemes had become useless because of reduction of water table in the region, they added.
“A small dam was constructed in Pandiali tehsil at a cost of Rs22.3 million in 2004, but a low flood washed away it owing to use of substandard material,” they said.
Construction works on the damaged dam is in progress which would overcome the water shortage in the Pandiali tehsil.
A dam has already completed in the Yousaf Khel Village and Ganado Dam near Ghalanai at the cost of 449 million which would be completed in 2015. The governor laid foundation for Ganado Dam on Feb, 17, 2013 and works on this dam was stopped after the killing of a contractor and other workers in an IED blast three years ago.
Even the Agency Headquarters Hospital and government servants in the Civil Colony in the agency headquarters Ghalanai are also without drinking water.
Officials told that about 30,000 people in Ghalanai, Pagul Kor, Chanda, Mill, Koaz Ghandab,Baro Khel and others areas were suffering from shortage of drinking water.
However, the shortage of water has proved blessing in disguise for owners of tankers as they charge Rs1800 to Rs2, 000 per tanker for supplying water to people.
The women of the poor families, who can’t afford buying water from tankers, fetch it into pitchers or other utensils from far-flung areas.
Some of these women cover a distance of several kilometers on foot to bring water for domestic use while most of the people utilize water of ponds for washing clothes and other purposes.
A tanker owner, when asked, said that he was paying Rs500 per tanker to operators of private tube wells and some amount of fuel used in Generator in Chargan and Shani Khel and other areas to supply water to people.
Raz Muhammad Khan, a tribesman from border area, told ARY News that in many villages people were using contaminated water for cooking, animals and washing purposes.
He said that government should construct small dams; solar based water supply schemes and reservoirs in the area to resolve the issue of water shortage.
Construction of small dams would not only resolve the problem of drinking water shortage but also raise water table in the area, he added.