The district administration in Madhya Pradesh’s Betul town, which is witnessing a severe water crisis, has imposed a prohibitory order banning all construction work in the area.
Betul collector Gyaneshwar B Patil, who issued the order on Sunday, said this was the first time that such a severe crisis of drinking water has hit the town. The unprecedented order was issued after a reservoir created with the help of a stop dam on the Machna river started going dry.
“We have just two to three days of water saved for supply, hence, we had to take this measure. The restrictions are on constructions in government and private sector both. To tide over the crisis tube-wells and dug wells are being acquired,” Patil told Hindustan Times over the phone.
The order will lead to about 2,000-2,500 labourers going without work. Since constructions take place mainly before rains, there is no possibility of the work resuming at least for three to four months.
On Monday, Patil also ordered the imposition of Section 144 that prohibits unlawful assembly of five or more persons at a place.
Betul that has a population of 1 lakh gets water supply from this dam. Residents require 13 lakh litre of water every day but only 7 lakh litre is being supplied to them on alternate days.
According to people in the area, if the water crisis deepens there may be a law and order problem.
There are some dug wells in the catchment area of Machna river from where water is being lifted to the filter pump with the help of three motor pumps. It is then supplied to the town.
Private water tankers are also thriving in the town.
Madhya Pradesh is facing a drought-like situation for the second consecutive year with water scarcity being reported in over 45 districts across the state. Water is being supplied on alternate days mainly in the Bundelkhand and Malwa regions.
Last month, Tikamgarh collector Priyanka Das issued an order banning washing cars with drinking water due the acute crisis in the district.