Thirsty Bundelkhand hopes political visits may fetch drinking water

May 18th, 2008 - 8:00 pm ICT by admin  

Jhansi, May 18 (ANI): As the scorching heat of this summer keeps us indoor, most of the people in Bundelkhand region that in central India continue to struggle for a pitcher of clean drinking water for their families. It’s the fifth year on trot that Bundelkhand region that involves some parts of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh is facing a severe drought leading to several hectares of barren land. Cultivation seems to have become an alien word in this region. Parched lands and the carcasses of hundreds of animals, are forcing villagers to desert their homes and migrate elsewhere in search of food and employment. “The place has died up and it’s like this for the past five years. People are unable to cope up with this. The government has done nothing, no tube-wells, no water and no policies. The people have migrated to other places and are doing manual work for their daily bread,” said Ram Singh, a local villager. Perhaps, concerned over the worsening situation of the region and absence of any official visit by political leaders or concerned authorities, the Uttar Pradesh Governor T. V. Rajeshwar had to intervene. “There is drought over here. The water is very less and insufficient. We will do what is best for the interests of all,” assured T. V. Rajeshwar, the Uttar Pradesh Governor recently. But the plight of local residents in Bundelkhand has now begun to draw political leaders from different quarters. “The wells have completely dried up and there is not even a single drop of water in the region to drink. We wanted to highlight this problem of the region and soon we received a good response thereby rousing concerns for the same at the national and international level. “Rahulji (Congress Party’s General Secretary) came here and saw the drought. And his visits’ result is that even Mayawatiji (Uttar Pradesh Chief Ministers) is also coming here. But, earlier, when none came here to look after the local villagers, the Governor (T.V.Rajeshwar) had to visit here and take a look at our plight,” said Ranjeet Singh Judev, Member of the Legislative Council. According to official sources, the Uttar Pradesh government has earmarked over 10 million rupees for the nine districts which fall in the Bundelkhand region. But, despite such claims, farmers lack sufficient drinking water leave alone irrigating their fields. Besides, there are not much employment opportunities for farmers for alternative means to survive. But senior most officials say, the needful is being done for the affected areas. “The two works of getting the hand-pump and re-holing done have already been undertaken by the water board. Moreover, boring wells have also been done wherever it is required. Secondly, the places where boring is not possible and water has completely dried, they are getting water through the cart services. Thirdly, in every village, a 500 liters tank has been set up so that drinking water remains in a sufficient quantity,” said M. Devraj, District Collector for Jhansi. Villagers, however, say that the factual situation is not so and their protests before the concerned officials appear to have fallen on deaf ears. Bundelkhand is spread across seven districts of Uttar Pradesh and over nine districts of Madhya Pradesh and has been in the news lately due to the consistent water crisis hitting the region.
Acres of land are lying barren and villagers are reeling under acute water shortage.
At least six tribal villages of Bundelkhand region are facing acute drinking water scarcity. The drought has forced villagers to migrate to towns in search of food and employment.
However, according to an official statement, the State government has allocated over Rs.10 million to nine districts that fall in the region.
It is learnt that more than 90 percent of the land could not be cultivated due to lack of irrigation facilities and that the livestock was fast perishing due to scarcity of fodder and water.
Drought has caused severe problems for villagers as seventy five per cent of people in the area depend on agriculture and more than 80 per cent are small and marginal farmers.
Recently, the State government allocated about Rs. 25 million for ferrying drinking water in rural areas. Announcements regarding Rs. 6.5 million and Rs 2.3 million have been made for organising cattle camps and construction of water bodies in nine districts respectively. (ANI)

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