"Just before the elections, the pradhan (village head) had promised us that when he wins, he will give us water, toilets and other basic amenities so that we can live with facilities," recalls Satish Kumar of Udaypur, a village just 10 kms from Varanasi city, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's constituency.
However, two years since then; Udaypur village is still suffering from a classic case of fake promises before an elections. It's 600 residents survive on one hand-pump for its water needs. A village in India ususally gets all its' water requirements - for drinking, bathing, house-hold work, from a village hand-pump.
While Udaypur does have two hand-pumps in the village, the residents complain that both don't give adequate water. "One hand-pump gives filthy water that noone can drink, while the other hand-pump sometimes breaks down, leaving us to walk a long distance to get water," Sheela tells Shabnam, her community member and correspondent with Video Volunteers.
Every morning, the residents throng the sole water pump of the village to fill their share of water; a scene of total chaos - they push and pull each other, sometimes break into a fight. "We have to wait in long lines for daily abulations. If we get delayed, we are marked as leave at our workplace," says Satish Kumar, who works as a daily labourer at a nearby factory, where he barely earns Rs. 150 ($ 2.24) a day.
One of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that India had agreed upon was halving the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015. However, this goal has fallen short by a large margin, due to poor implementation on ground level and lack of maintenance of the existing water facilities.
The Udaypur residents have approached the pradhan on several occasions, but his apathy has shocked them. "He says 'Solve your problems, yourselves. Why do you come begging to me?" says Sheela.
Over 70% of India’s population live in villages that struggle to meet basic requirements to sustain livelihood, including safe and sustainable potable water. Due to lack of clean, drinking water, over 100,000 people die annually in the country from water borne diseases and over 140,000 children die annually from diarrhea alone.
Can you imagine what it must be to fight over water? Call the Block Development Officer on +91-9454825181 and help the residents of Udaypur get clean, drinking water.
This video was made by a Video Volunteers Community Correspondent Shabnam Begum.
Community Correspondents come from marginalized communities in India and produce videos on unreported stories. These stories are ’news by those who live it.’ They give the hyperlocal context to global human rights and development challenges. See more such videos at www.videovolunteers.org. Take action for a more just global media by sharing their videos and joining in their call for change.
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