Tuesday, June 3, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Walking miles for pail of water
Natural sources dry up, water schemes fail
Chander Shekhar Sharma

Boys collect water from a puddle in a village in Hamirpur district
Boys collect water from a puddle in a village in Hamirpur district on Sunday.

Hamirpur, June 2
Hamirpur district is facing a water crisis due to drought conditions, burning of forests and non-arrival of timely and heavy rains last winter. The district has received no rains during the current summer season.

The situation is so bad that the people are forced to walk 5 km to 10 km daily to fetch water for their needs. Traditional water sources like khads, bowlis, wells and khatris have dried up.

Nearly one-third population of the district living in around 277 villages is the worst affected. Traditional water sources in these areas have dried up and the government water supply system has been paralysed almost completely. Sixtynine water supply schemes of the district have been affected in varying degrees. Eight water supply schemes have almost no water and people living there are forced to share water from the ponds and khads.

There are apprehensions that if there are no rains in the coming days, the people would be forced to drink contaminated water and they may fall prey to water-borne diseases.

A visit to various parts of the district by this correspondent reveals that the water shortage has hit the common man. People are forced to stand on main roads for tankers to deliver water. People come on the road early in the morning and wait for hours to get water.

Scores of men, women and children were seen standing on the roadside along with their vessels near Chhatrail village for three hours. The villagers said that a tanker came but left for the next destination without delivering them water.

Shanti Devi and Pano Devi, two elderly women of the village, were sore over the “stepmotherly” treatment being meted out to them. They blasted the local BJP MLA for not listening to their plight, which had resulted in the acute water shortage for them.

They demanded an immediate sanctioning of a water supply scheme for them and the digging of hand pumps in the area.

People of the Thana-Daroghan area on the Hamirpur-Awahdevi main road were in tears. They lamented that no steps had been taken for providing them water. Duni Chand and Sukh Ram of the area told ‘The Tribune’ that politicians always befooled them during elections. Even during the last elections, a promise was made for the regular supply of the water, but that was yet to be fulfilled.

Youngsters of the area were taking out water from a small pit dug on the main road with help of jugs. This small pit has become a source of water for both the human beings and animals.

Residents of Pakhrol village in the Nadaun area are forced to fetch water from the Maan khad on scooters, cycles and other vehicles. Mr Madan Lal Sharma said all water sources in the area had gone dry and sought supply of water by tankers.

At Jahoo, the villagers were finding it difficult to get drinking water as the water level in both sources of the scheme had gone down.

Mr R.N. Sharma, SE, Irrigation-cum-Public Health Department, admitted to a severe water shortage in the district. He attributed this to the non-arrival of rains and severe drought conditions. The department was doing its best to help the people, he told this reporter.

Mr Sharma said the Bhoranj area of the district was the worst affected where almost all the water supply sources had gone dry. Water was being supplied to the people through tankers.

He said the water supply schemes of Dhamrol, Neri, Chamboh, Badehar, Dhirar-Paplah and Garsar had also become non-functional due to no water in their sources.

Similarly, the schemes of Hathli, Jhaniara, Chowki Jamala, Rangar, Jeehan and Karara had also become non-functional for want of water in their sources.

More water tankers would be deployed to the area.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Davesh Kumar, said funds would not come in way of the water supply distribution system.

He issued a strict warning to those who were misusing tap water for kitchen gardening and house construction works.


Water on ration cards
Our Correspondent

Hamirpur, June 2
The supply of water through tankers will be made on ration cards in the Bhoranj area of Hamirpur district. This has been done to provide at least six buckets/pitchers of water to each household everyday.

Mr R.N. Sharma, SE Irrigation-cum Public Health Department, said here today that in all 28 tankers had been put on water supply duty in the area, where the water supply situation was grave. He said that the rationing of water had been done to ensure that water was made available to all households.


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