Parched townspeople pay dear for spring

TEHRATHUM: Users of Bhusune Jiptare Community Forest in Jirikhimti-8 have sold a source of water in the forest for Rs 300,000.

They have sold the spring to Myanglung Bazaar Drinking Water Consumers' Committee (MBDWCC) in the district headquarters. The high price was charged citing that the source belonged to them. Shankar Joshi, chairman of MBDWCC, said, "They first said they would not allow to pipe the water away. When we proposed to pay them for it by collecting money from each consumer, since we had no other alternative, they agreed."

The eastern hilly town was reeling under an acute shortage of water owing to the growing population. Joshi said buying it was the best possible option. The water brought from Jirikhimti has been distributed among 567 families in Wards No 1, 2 and 9 of Myanglung, Ward No 6 of Tamphula and Ward No 1 of Sabla village development committees.

Earlier water was collected from a source in Surketar of Jirikhimti. When it was too little to meet the growing demand, the government had agreed to increase the capacity of the water supply project. Shiva Prasad Devkota, head, Drinking Water and Sanitation Sub Division Office, said works to construct a tank and pipeline were underway with a budget of Rs 24.4 million. The consumers have heaved a sigh of relief even though they had to pay extra for the source. Bhim Subedi, a member of the consumers' committee, said water would now be in plenty.

"We sold the water since we had conserved the forest," the forest users reasoned.