Dirty Picture Of Chattisgarh’s Ponds

As conditions of village ponds worsen in Sehlud, Chhattisgarh, efforts are on to revive them. Community correspondent SarwatNaqvi takes a look at the current situation of ponds in Sehlud, Chhattisgarh, and also chronicles the inspiring story of Baindri village where a community came together to restore the village pond. Ponds continue to be an integral part of rural life in Sehlud. Inspite of provisions for water supply in the villages by the government, the supply is erratic. There are bore wells in the village too but only the wealthy have access to it. Given this situation, the village population depends entirely on the pond water for washing, cleaning and other day  to day chores. “ It is observed that people defecate near the ponds despite having access to public toilets. They bathe cattle in the ponds too. It is alarming that despite having access to toilets people continue to defecate near the ponds. This pollute the water and spreads several diseases,” says social activist Ajay Deshmukh. Previously, the pond water was used to irrigate agricultural fields, but due to high levels of pollution, it can no longer be used. As the pond ecosystem is being crippled by the pollution, the population of fish is on the decline. Before the advent of bore wells, the Health and Sanitation committee within the Village Council used to look after the maintanance of the pond, however they don’t do so any more. “ I want the Village Council to take action because maintaining ponds is essential to sustain the water table,” asserts SarwatNaqvi When Baindri village in Chhatisgarh faced a similar predicament, a group of about 35 women came together to ensure that the pond was deepened and cleaned. After fighting a long drawn battle with the authorities, their demands were met. This story is a concrete example of the potential that a community possesses to bring about social change. “ I believe that not only my community but also other communities across the country should learn from this and spark off a similar movement.”

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