Thirsty Gujarat Still Waiting For Water

The wait for the 2012 Gujarat election results is over. But 62 families continue to wait, counting days for water. Neeru Rathod, IndiaUnheard Community Correspondent who lives in Sayala Block, Surendranagar district, says that her community gets water only once every 12 - 15 days. The quantity they receive is neither sufficient nor is the water safe for drinking. Alternatively, there is a well and a small pond about 2kms away. Children miss schools and women are forced to get up in the wee hours of morning and walk endlessly to fetch water. To ensure safe drinking water for its citizens an autonomous organization was established by the Government of Gujarat in 2002. The Water and Sanitation Management Organization (WASMO) was awarded the “Excellence in Public Administration” for the year 2006-07. It is the answer to the woes of Sayala Block but it is still in papers. As part of the WASMO’s participatory approach, community people have fulfilled their part and colleted their share of the money. But there is no concrete plan to start the work in the near future. The Sarpanch of Sayala cites complicated geographical conditions as the reason. The Water Committee of the Gram Panchyat is responsible to carry out the work. Neeru reveals that it is plagued by petty internal politics from last two years. Sarpanch has assured many-a-times that the problem will be solved. This time around, people are asking for more than hollow promises. “Last time I made a video and the Sarpanch said he will solve this issue. But things have gone worse. Earlier we used to get water once in 12 days. Now, we are not even sure if we will get water after 15 days.” Though Narendra Modi-led BJP has won the election on the “development agenda”, the battle to achieve basic needs for common people is yet to be fought. Article by – Amrita Anand

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