Thakubai Gatap, a 60-year-old resident of Vashi village in Indapur taluka of Beed district, starts her day early in the morning to ensure she gets a couple of buckets of water from a well nearly 4km from her village.
If she reaches the well even a little late, she has to forego even those since the daily stock gets over by then.
Similar stories are told by people in almost all villages in the drought-hit districts of western Maharashtra and Marathwada.
Women and girls have made it a routine to wake up early in the morning in the hope that they get drinking water at least for the day.
Villagers make sure that plastic barrels are kept by the roadside near their villages to store water, used for non-drinking purposes, when the water tankers come by once a week.
Villagers and farmers blame the government for poor planning and apathy towards irrigation projects. Many are deprived of water even though water sources are available just a few kilometres away.
“We have a small lake just two kilometers from the village. A small dam would ensure plenty of water for four villages in our taluka, but due to lack of government planning, we have had to go without water,” said Lala Nikam, a farmer from Mogarale village in Maan taluka of Satara district. He said that a number of memorandums to the government machinery have made no difference.
Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar visited the village on Saturday, while Congress president Sonia Gandhi is expected to arrive in the next few weeks. Central committees on drought also inspected the village thrice in the last year.
“Except for visits, we get nothing. The committee goes to the villages and farms situated along the roads, but the members do not take the pain to venture into villages in remote areas,” alleged Vijay Jagdale, a farmer who has been growing vegetables using poly house concepts.
Farmers and even the NCP workers in Sangola taluka of Solapur are up in arms against the government. Villagers have been protesting with demands of concretisaion of canals that can supply enough water for 29 villages.
“The project was sanctioned in 1995, but the government has failed to complete it in time. Lack of funds, administrative apathy and opposition by villagers have delayed the project,” said Tanajikaka Patil, city president of NCP.
Nitin Honrao from Kadepur said that policy paralysis had thrown the Tembhu irrigation scheme of Krishna Valley in cold storage for nearly 15 years.
“Once completed, it would provide adequate water supply to Tasgaon, Kadepur, Jat and Atpadi talukas. Deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar has announced Rs.73 crore for the scheme two days ago. Though the funds are not sufficientm the announcement will help few villages once the first phase is completed,” he added.