The handpumps of Bilha village, in Panna district of Madhya Pradesh, have hardly pumped water in the past one year. Due to the water scarcity, mothers and young girls of more than 100 families of the village walk over 2 km to fetch water from Kulga, the nearest village. The six hand-pump installed under the National Rural Drinking Water programme have not pumped adequate water in the region since March 2015 because the ground-water reserve of the area has drastically depleted. The residents of the village have approached the village head, Sarpanch, several times with requests to find a solution for the water scarcity in the area with written requests. However, no action has been taken by the Sarpanch. According to the Video Volunteer Madhya Pradesh community correspondent Lakhu Prasad, over 500 families of the district are affected by similar water shortage.
The district of Panna is famous for the Panna Tiger Reserve, sandstone mines and Majhagaon, the only active diamond mine in Asia.
The grim situation of Bilha village is mirrored in 40 other districts of Madhya Pradesh which reported water shortage with dried up hand pumps and underground water sources. Supporting the ground reality, a pre-monsoon report by the Central Ground Water Board on the groundwater scenario in the country has stated that 68% of the wells monitored in Madhya Pradesh have recorded a decline in groundwater levels.
The Great Indian Drought of 2016 has affected over 330 million people, across 10 states of India. States of Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka were the worst hit from the scarcity of water as millions of rural families dealt with wilted farms and dried water bodies.
While El Nino, a climate cycle, is the primary reason poor, erratic rainfalls in the past two years; a long-term reason for India’s water shortage across the country are the constantly decreasing ground water levels. The increased and unmonitored use of groundwater by agriculture and industries, mining and pollution of surface and groundwater sources have been attributed to this decrease.
Call to Action: We can help the 100 families of Bilha by calling the Sub-divisional Officer on +91- 9179651686 and demand that proper action be taken to help the residents of Bilha.
Community correspondent Lakhu reports from Madhya Pradesh for Video Volunteers.
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