Mrunal Manmay Dash

Shortage of drinking water is no more associated with only summer. The situation has become commonplace for some villagers in Odisha even in winter.

As per reports, more than 150 families of Badajunapal village under Mayurbhanj’s Kaptipada block are forced to walk 2 km in the Similipal jungle to fetch drinking water from a manmade underground stream.

The water shortage is so acute that women and children queuing up with buckets and other pots is a regular sight in the village every morning. The lone tube well in the village does not dispense potable water too.

Locals alleged, the administration never listens to their requests. Political leaders come to their village before every election and make a lot of promises. But they very conveniently forget the problems once they get the votes, they alleged.

“We have only one tube well in our village. That too is useless. So we are forced to walk into the jungle to get water. Nobody is concerned about our plight even after repeated requests,” said a local of Badajunapal village, Ranjita Dalabehera.

When OTV tried to attract attention of the administration towards their plight, Assistant Executive Engineer of Udala RWSS Division, Sujit Kumar Lugun said, “I have visited the place with the JE and spoke with the Sarpanch. A tube well will be set up in that village within one month.”

Similar kind of allegations came from Dalki village under Bijatala block in the same district where around 600 residents are reportedly forced to drink dirty water from a nearby pond.

Sources said the village has a tubewell, but it dispenses dirty water which is unsuitable to drink. Though a water tank was set up under the Basudha scheme two years back, water connection to the homes is still a distant dream.

Just like the Badajunapal village, locals of Dalki too have complained several times to the district administration, but in vain.

“Children are regularly falling ill due to dirty water consumption from this pond. A water tank has been built and pipes are laid too. But no water connection has been till now,” said a local Vikarm Tudu.

“We have informed our situation at the Block office many times. But nobody listens to our demands,” Tudu alleged.

However, Bijatala BDO Bansidhar Khosla denied receiving any drinking water complaint from the village and thanked OTV for bringing this to his notice.

“We have zero tolerance police in water scarcity and we will mitigate that problem soon. RWSS JE will visit the place to verify and the problem will be resolved in a day or two,” assured the BDO.