Dilip Kumar

Chhatrapur (Ganjam): Around 50 families at the Station Road in the district headquarters town have resorted to a bizarre innovation for getting a bucketful of drinking water from a lone stand-post in their locality.

An instant lottery system is played out every day to decide who gets the quota first. Reason: water comes for only 30-45 minutes in a day to quench the thirst of hundreds of men, women and children in the sprawling colony.

As per reports, wisdom prevailed among residents following daily squabbles and fights between women to grab ground in order to fill buckets during the short period when water comes. Elders finally came out with the solution: instant lottery.

Though the idea helped in reducing the rush and feuds, the dry days still continue to haunt as water supply has become scarce and infrequent in the last couple of years.

“We resorted to a lottery system because of the regular disputes amongst us. This way we at least get a serial number and accordingly fetch water peacefully. However, only the first three winners get a chance to collect water while others in the queue have to return with empty bucket as the supply stops,” said a woman resident.

"We ran from pillar to post for piped water connection in our locality, but got nothing except false assurances,” she added.

Locals alleged that they had appraised the NAC executive officer, JE and Councillors on many occasions about the appalling water scarcity in their locality. “They are least bothered,” they said.

Another resident, while highlighting the urgency of the crisis, said, “We can’t even provide a glass of water to passersby as we have to buy water from the market for our daily needs.”

She said while other colonies in the vicinity have been provided with adequate water supply, the administration has turned a dry eye towards them.

“Are we not citizens of the State, are we not human beings,” another resident asked.

The residents said that an open well and a bore-well in the colony were functional earlier. “But now those are in dilapidated condition and not enough to address the needs of all the families,” a resident said adding, “This has left us to depend on the solitary stand-post which again is not enough for us.”