This doctor cures ‘ailing’ hand pumps too

August 10th, 2011 - 9:33 am ICT by IANS  

Bareilly (Uttar Pradesh), Aug 10 (IANS) He is a doctor who also quenches thirst - by repairing hand pumps.

Arun Kumar, a senior physician, has been carrying out a unique drive in the farflung villages of Bareilly district to get the dysfunctional public hand pumps repaired.

“By prescribing medicines I help my patients, but that has a professional aspect. However, whenever I get the hand pumps repaired, I get the feeling of serving the masses in the real sense,” Arun Kumar, who has been running a private clinic for over 30 years, told IANS.

“I feel the drive is just a part of my social responsibility…I derive a unique sense of self-satisfaction by helping people in this way,” said the 63-year-old doctor, who runs a clinic in the Qutub Bazar locality of Bareilly city.

He has been involved in the drive for over three years and people seeking repair of their area’s hand pump not only approach him at his clinic but also at his home in Civil Lines. Some help seekers contact him by telephone.

“Due to his considerate nature and the unique drive, Arunji has become quite popular, particular among the rural masses. When we get an assurance from his side we become sure that the problem would be rectified soon,” said Kamlesh Yadav, a native of Paratpur village in Bareilly, some 250 km from Lucknow.

Besides Paratpur, the doctor has got public hand pumps repaired in dozens of villages, including Mahlau, Fareedapur, Parsakheda and Sanjay Nagar.

For getting hand pumps repaired, Arun Kumar has a team of three technicians who accompany him to the village from where he gets a complaint.

According to his technicians, repair of a public hand pump costs around Rs.1,000-1,500.

The doctor earlier used to bear the entire repairing cost, but now NGOs, clubs and locals have started raising funds for the drive.

“Most of the public hand pumps normally cost between Rs.30,000 and Rs.35,000. And they remain dysfunctional due to lack of servicing that needs a small amount of money. If you consider the repairing cost, you will find it is quite low as compared to the original cost of a pump,” said Arun Kumar.

Asked what prompted him to undertake such a drive, the doctor said: “A few years ago, during a campaign to give children polio drops I visited several villages in Bareilly and was moved by the plight of the parched locals.”

“They told me they had to trek several kilometres in search of drinking water just because the hand pumps of their locality were not functioning. It was then I decided to initiate a drive to repair public hand pumps,” said Arun Kumar.

(Asit Srivastava can be contacted at asit.s@ians.in)

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