Water scarcity in coastal area hampers funeral rituals

Water scarcity in coastal area hampers funeral rituals
The situation has aggravated to such an extent that the residents are forced to depend on the contaminated water in the canals.

Thrikunnapuzha: Acute shortage of water has been reported from localities in and near Mithilapuri here in Kerala's coastal Alappuzha district. Recent incidents reveal residents find it difficult to bath the dead. Frustrated, locals including a 96-year-old man who lost his wife hours before staged a protest here the other day. The panchayat secretary of Thrikunnapuzha was gheraoed for around 3 hours over this issue.

People of Mithilapuri are forced to carry pots of water on their heads from distant places to wash the body of the dead person.

One of the residents, 95-year-old Chellamma, passed away on March 10. The funeral rites were affected with no water to cleanse the body. Finally her relatives and others in the locality carried water on their heads and in wheelbarrows from distant spots.

Chellamma's husband, 96-year-old Raghavan, had also joined the protestors to raise the issue of water scarcity at the panchayat office. On reaching home he developed uneasiness and was taken to hospital.

For the last three months the taps in Raghavan's house have gone dry as the public water supply has ceased. Even the public tap nearby has dried up. Around 100 families in and around Mithilapuri have been bearing the brunt of acute water shortage.

During nights, the residents travel to Karthikapally panchayat, about half a kilometre away to fetch water from the public tap near the Kuthiyathode bridge. The little water in the canal is unfit to wash even clothes. The situation has aggravated to such an extent that the residents are forced to depend on the contaminated water in the canals to wash clothes and other household purposes. "This could be the reason why diarrhoea and vomiting are prevalent in the region," the local people.

Panchayat president B Ammini has promised the protestors to look into the matter and direct the Kerala Water Authority officers to rectify the problem. The authorities have finally started distributing potable water to Mithilapuri in tanker lorries, but the locals complain it was filled with mud.

Thrikkunnapuzha, which is in the south-west part of Alappuzha district, is the gateway to the inland water ways of the region. A network of canals, rivers and lagoons make the place one of the most scenic in Kerala.

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