Water, Development key issues in Almora constituency ahead of polls
Ranikhet constituency of Almora district, which has 78,577 voters, has been witnessing a close contest for the past two polls. But the close contest is not due to tough competition rather lack of surety among voters as both the candidates have failed to live up to their expectations.
In 2007, Congress’ Karan Mahara had defeated BJP candidate Ajay Bhatt by just 205 votes. Bhatt had his revenge in the 2012 state elections when he trounced Mahara, but only by 78 votes. Both the leaders are again facing each other in Ranikhet.
The people of the constituency, which is incidentally the hometown of chief minister Harish Rawat and BJP state chief Bhatt, have been facing the problem of water shortage for the past 15 years. After several protests and as many assurances, nothing but disappointment came their way.
To this day, people in many areas walk several kilometers to fetch water for their daily needs.
When asked about the water problem, a visibly upset Tulsi Devi, the gram pradhan of Sokhola village, said: “There has been no rain for the past four months, so all sources of water have dried up, even though there are taps in front of everyone’s house.”
Devi said that she walks for over five kms daily to get water.
In spite of several schemes, under which pipelines and water tanks were constructed by the authorities, there was no respite as most of the water sources have also dried up. No alternative to address the water shortage was worked out.
MLA Bhatt said that five pumping schemes and three tube wells were built to ensure seven lakh litres of drinking water supply every day.
But, the residents claimed that it was not enough to solve the menace of water crisis plaguing the constituency for past 15 years. “The crisis has worsened as too many pipelines are drawing water from limited number of springs,” a resident said.