When administration didn’t paid heed to their constant appeals in the past seven decades, the villagers in remote Thanhala Panchayat in Jammu and Kashmir’s Doda district decided themselves to embark on a mission to bring clean water to their homes.
Families in the village decided to contribute Rs 40,000 so that they can purchase the required water pipes to get connected to the nearest water source. Most of the families in this village are below poverty line (BPL).
A local resident Aijaz Ahmad said that villagers are just following the proverb ‘God helps those who help themselves’ as the administration didn’t care to ensure tap water in their homes over the years. Since they have no access to water resources, they have to walk to a nearby source even during extreme weathers.
This village houses around 30 families. It borders Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh, just 1.5 km from the interstate Bhaderwah-Chamba road. The villagers are mostly daily workers who work in Bhaderwah town for a living.
Additional Deputy Commissioner, Bhaderwah, Rakesh Kumar said that it is the responsibility of the government to provide drinking water to every household. He assured that he will raise the issue with the ‘Jal Shakti Vibhag’ Bhaderwah so that they make temporary arrangements to provide piped water to the village as harsh winters are also making the lives of these villagers difficult. He said that the government must make arrangements for drinking water until a permanent gravity line is laid under Jal Jeevan Mission
A villager, Ahmed, said that he just earns Rs 400 a day from the labour work and is just able to survive. But to save the lives of women of the village who collect the water in extreme weather conditions, he has saved half of his earning from the last one month to buy plastic pipes.
Aiza Bano, a girl of 13, told that her father and elder brother are labourers and traditionally, girls go to fetch water for their respective families. This happens in every family and as a result, girls in the village are not able to study beyond Class 8. She hopes that their lives would improve once these pipes get laid and they get access to clean water at their homes.