This Summer, Thirst Becomes Business

02-06-14 Kshetriya Katrvi - Manikpur JNChitrakoot district. Water problems in Bundelkhand are not a new phenomenon. In Chitrakoot district of this area, as temperatures soar, drinking water is increasingly becoming a luxury.

In the Khandeha kasba of Mau block, water supply in taps and handpumps has run dry. People living around here have to walk at least half a kilometer to a handpump to get water. According to the village head Bhaiyyan Kol, an application for a new handpump was submitted at the Block almost 6 months ago.

In Ramnagar block’s Rajapur kasba, there is only one handpump in Ward No. 7 and that too works intermittently. With a serious lack of sources of drinking water, people have resorted to buying water pouches that are priced at Rs. 2 for half a litre of water.

Shivrampur in Karvi block is where the Chitrakoot Dham Railway Station is located and yet in an area that sees hundreds of people every day, there are only 2 handpumps of which one needs repairing. At the busy railway station, passengers and passersby have to purchase water pouches or bottled water.

The worst case is that of Manikpur Railway Junction. Most important trains connecting the Bundelkhand region of Uttar Pradesh to cities like New Delhi, Bombay and Bangalore originate from Manikpur Junction where there are no provisions for drinking water. Last year, there would be a tanker from Jhansi in the summer season to provide drinking water to the passengers. This year even that hasn’t happened. Bauwa, the contractor who runs the canteen at the Junction said that he sells almost 5000 pouuches of water every day. He also complained that many railway officials often take away a number of pouches for free as well.

Note: Even though the local government passed a huge budget to solve Bundelkhand’s water problems, the situation on the ground remains more or less the same. As per an earlier Khabar Lahariya report 10 crores has been spent under the National Rural Drinking Water Programme in 2013-2014 in Bundelkhand, but working handpumps are still sparse.

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