No Drinking Water For Past 3 Years, Women Of This Village In MP Walk 5 KM Everyday To Fetch Water
PARCHED IN TIKAMGARH
A village in Tikamgarh, a town located about 275 km from Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh is facing acute water crisis for the past three years. Women and children of the village are forced to walk a distance of 5 km every day at 40 degrees Celsius, for water. The village with a population of 3000 people comprises mostly of labourers and traders as reported.
The hand pump scheme and tap water scheme launched by the government brings no relief to these villagers. Particularly in the summer the ponds and rivers dry up causing the groundwater table to dip. Recently, the distraught villagers travelled 25 kms to notify the local administrator about this acute water shortage. However, no help has been forthcoming so far.
“We have to walk till Uttar Pradesh border to get water. Our children cannot go to school as all their time goes in fetching water. Due to non-availability of drinking water, womenfolk of the village walk five km every day through forest road to collect water,” locals told ANI.
The government records, on the other hand, paint a very unpleasant picture of the Tikamgarh district. According to the records, tap water scheme has been introduced in 318 villages of the district out of which 233 are functional. Only 85 villages have this provision. Records also indicate that 9544 hand pumps were installed in the villages out of which 7849 are active whereas 1695 are non- functional. At the ground level, even fewer hand pumps are working.
Life of people in these villages has come to a halt on account of this water crisis. Children are giving school as miss as they have to wander in search of water. At times when the electricity goes off, they must scour water from potholes as the hand pumps stop operating. The quality of water they are drinking is also questionable as it is unsanitized and may cause health issues.
Quick facts about the water crisis in Madhya Pradesh –
- 132 tehsils in 18 districts are declared drought-hit in Madhya Pradesh.
- Districts in Chambal, Gwalior and Bundelkhand region are the worst-affected areas.
- Kwari, Seep, Kadwal, Amral, Varma, Gourya and Sonar rivers have dried up causing the groundwater to go down.
- Out of 16, Water bodies in 10 municipal corporations have almost dried up.
- People spend Rs 1,600 a week to purchase water from tankers.
- A 29 Km long water supply pipeline project from Manikheda dam is still incomplete.
- Major migration has occurred from these drought-hit areas for fear of survival.
The question remains on how the government plans to tackle this water crisis in Tikamgarh, Madhya Pradesh and other drought-prone regions? Do they have any short-term and long-term plans to counter this problem? Why was nothing concrete done in the past three years to avert this crisis despite clear indications of water shortage?
The administration needs to ensure that the schemes they initiate have an impact at the ground level and that they benefit people in distress.Robust water conservation techniques must be developed like widening canals, building check dams etc. Spreading the information and providing assistance to carry out these activities in every village is essential for success. The river water distribution project should be taken up by the government to ensure equitable distribution of water throughout the country. Such endeavors will help stem the water crisis in India permanently.