Rajpur (Madhya Pradesh): Serpentine queues at water tankers are a common sight in Rajpur and its adjoining village in Barwani district during the summer and the situation is no different this summer as well.
The drinking water shortage is more severe in rural pockets of Barwani district and Rajpur village, which has a population of around 30,000 is one of the severely affected areas.
Rajpur gets water from the Narmada river, situated about 18-kilometre away from the village. However, even after the village having one 7.5 lakh litres and two 2.5 lakh litres overhead water tanks, residents of Rajpur are facing an acute drinking water crisis.
Many locals blamed rampant corruption in government schemes and inept administration as being the main reason behind the situation.
Locals informed that earlier villages used to get water from Narawala pond close to the village. At that time, then council president Rajendra Malviya spent Rs five crore to bring Narmada water to the village. After the village started facing a water shortage, another project worth Rs 35 crore was proposed by the then council president Usha Nanesh Choudhary. Later, Mukesh Kushwah alias Pappu Panwal became the council president and the project has been progressing at a snail's pace for the last five years.
Locals claimed that the councillors had lodged their complaints with the concerned company and with Barwani's MLA and animal husbandry minister Prem Singh Patel two years ago but no action taken in the matter so far.
Water theft from the trunk line supplying water to the village is another reason for the water scarcity. Villagers said many roadside eateries, shops and commercial establishments steal water from the trunk line and as a result, overhead water tanks remain empty adversely affecting the water supply in the village. Villagers claimed that officers are well aware of the situation but nobody seems to be interested in solving the problem. Meanwhile, when contacted the chief municipal officer (CMO) Seetaram Chouhan admitted to inadequate water supply in the village and added that they are preparing a list of those involved in water theft in the village.
“We are serious about this and have conveyed to officials to curb such incidents so that villagers get sufficient water in future,” said Chouhan.