Govt. Cheats, Tankers Loot, People Thirst

North Gujarat block lies dry for last 6 months

For the last 6 months, 200 families living in a block in North Gujarat have been suffering for the utter lack of water. The tanks and wells of Sayla Block are empty and the hand pumps have stopped yielding water. The people have been left with only two options to resort to.They have to either walk many kilometers to source the water from a nearby well or they can shell out at least Rs. 600/- a month and get their water delivered to them by private tankers.

Most of the people in the region are employed as laborers who get minimum wages on the basis of daily labor. If they decide to walk for water, they lose out on their daily sustenance. Also, if they decide to pay the tankers, they have barely any money left to run the household.

“There is no water even for basic needs like drinking and sanitation,”says Neeru Rathod, a resident of the block and an IndiaUnheard Community Correspondent who has made many videos on the many water issues that afflict the region. Neeru herself buys water from the tanker. Says Neeru, “It is not just the fact that a basic need like water is almost unaffordable, even the quality of water is low. The taste is brackish and one can just assume that it is not safe and potable. But what other option do I have?”

Neeru and the people of her region have spoken to the Headman about the issue. “he was quick to issue promises,” Says Neeru, “But when nothing was being done, I decided to make the video.”

“When I went to the headman’s house for his interview, he asked me to not make or publish the video. He promised me that he would restore water supply to the village. Two weeks later, the village had water. And then two weeks later, it was gone again. We were back to square one.”

Neeru and the people of Sayla feel betrayed by their own elected representative. “We gave the headman a chance to do the right thing,” says Neeru. “He has forced us into using this video as evidence against his apathy to his people’s issues. We are tired of living thirsty. We demand change.”

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