Residents of Sunderbans are facing acute shortage of drinking water as the natural sources of potable water in the region were left saline by cyclone Aila which struck the islands more than two months ago.
"We usually drink pond water. But the pond water stinks from carcasses of animals after the storm," said Shilpi Mullick, waiting for a government ferry which arrives once in three to four days at Jamespur, South 24-Parganas district.
Initially four vessels were deployed, but now only one remains. Water reaches late as it is being rationed in rotation, Gosaba's Block Development Officer, Amiya Bhusan Chakraborty told a visiting PTI Correspondent.
The underground water was too saline to be tapped and there was no drinking water source in that area Chakraborty said adding that water is supplied from Luxbagan to places like Satjelia but it could not be provided here for geographical reasons.
Meanwhile Chandan Maity, Convenor of Aila-affected Peoples' Committee, said, "More vessels should ferry drinking water. The authorities must dig more tubewells as soon as possible. It is a shame that people drink polluted water more than 60 years after Independence".
Members of the Committee claimed that two lakh villagers did not get water because of government apathy and they were planning to demonstrate before the BDO's office.
The BDO, however, said that it would soon install more than 200 tubewells in the island.