Saroj Paraste is the Sarpanch (Village Head) of her own village, and of 69 more. She credits her role as a Community Correspondent in enabling her to reach this significant leadership position. People came to respect and depend on her her for the wide-ranging knowledge she had gained as a journalist. The fact that the villagers and other government officials…
People queue up frantically in front of the tanker, there is a hubbub in the air but some like Savitri know that they may go home empty handed.
Chirpani village, District Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh has been facing a severe shortage of drinking water for the past 50 years. At present the150 families of the village depend on a single tanker for their supply of drinking water.
Providing access to safe drinking water is increasingly a concern for the Government of India. Drinking water has been listed as a State Subject and is also an area where multiple Centrally sponsored schemes like ‘Accelerated Rural Water Supply Scheme’ have been implemented. However the condition of water supply in the country is not very encouraging. For instance piped water reaches only 9% of rural households.
The residents of Chirpani fall back on the water in the village’s ‘Stop Dam’ when the tanker’s water falls short. But the Stop dam is already overburdened—it provides water for cattle, washing and bathing. Needless to say, drinking that water has resulted in all sorts of diseases ranging from dysentery to skin infections.
“But what can we do? There is no other water to drink in the village,” says a resident.
The village community has been trying to reach out to authorities get the water supply of the village increased. Those efforts have unfortunately failed and they have now come up with a new proposal to solve their water woes.
The residents of Chirpani want a Stop Dam built at the Small Mahanadi River that is 3 KM away from the village. They propose that the water be transported through a lift and be brought to different tanks that would be constructed in the village.
Throughout Madhya Pradesh, Stop Dams have been a popular way of harnessing the water from river sources nearby, especially in times of the post-monsoon flow. In other areas it has helped secure drinking water as well as water for irrigation and other household purposes. Those in Chirapni hope to have the same success to meet their needs.
Call to Action: Saroj would like you to call the H.D.O, Mr S.S Khare of the Public Health Department of Kundam Block on +919893350592and put pressure on him to ensure that Chirpani Village gets adequate drinking water throughout the year.
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