UP election: Mankapur hopes its vote will help rid it of hazardous hand pumps this polls | assembly-elections$uttarpradesh-2017 | Hindustan Times
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UP election: Mankapur hopes its vote will help rid it of hazardous hand pumps this polls

There are 1,015 villages in UP’s Gonda district but as per government records only 18 receive piped water supply. As the constituency goes to polls, here’s a look at how their water woes will shape a part of the state’s assembly elections.

assembly elections Updated: Feb 27, 2017 19:04 IST
Faizan Haidar
The state is supposed to provide at least one hand pump in each village. Though this is just not adequate, even those villages that got the hand pumps say they are mostly defunct
The state is supposed to provide at least one hand pump in each village. Though this is just not adequate, even those villages that got the hand pumps say they are mostly defunct(Faizan Haider/HT Photo)

At a snack shop in Nawabganj town, in Mankapur constituency about 25 km from Ayodhya, the drinking water served is yellowish in colour. This is the ground water they get from the hand pump, says the shopkeeper.

No household in this constituency of over 6 lakh residents has piped water supply; they are all dependent on the heavily polluted ground water.

As the region votes on Monday, the people of the constituency hope the next government they elect will hopefully solve their drinking water woes.

About 15km from Nawabganj crossing, Ram Charan Yadav of Maheshpur village is aware of the ill-effects of the polluted water his family is forced to drinks.

“We fall ill frequently and the doctor says it is because of the water. We have never seen the local MLA in our village and despite promises nothing has been done on the ground,” says Yadav. All 48 families in his village depend on the private hand pumps outside their homes.

The state is supposed to provide at least one hand pump in each village. Though this is just not adequate, even those villages that got the hand pumps say they are mostly defunct.

Government guidelines prescribe 90 feet depth for ‘quality water’, but since it is available at just 30 feet, villagers installing their own hand pumps opt for this as it is cheaper.

“Earlier, we used to walk 2 km to fetch water. Then, we collected money and installed hand pumps. We know the quality is bad but have to drink that,” says Abid Ali of Ramgarh village, close to Maheshpur.

“Diseases like diarrhoea and cholera is common. The water pipeline is 20 km away. We don’t think we will get clean drinking water in our lifetime,” adds Ali.

Doctors say 89% of patients with fever are typhoid cases, which is due to the poor quality of water.

“Typhoid is caused by poor sanitation. The villagers resort to open defecation and since the hand pumps are just 25-30 feet deep, human excreta leaches into the ground water and that is what they drink,” says Dr Devendra Kumar, in charge of the Nawabganj community health centre.

There are 1,015 villages in Gonda district but as per government records only 18 have piped water supply. Locals say water tanks and pipelines were constructed but clean water hasn’t reached the villages.

The clean drinking water schemes and Nirmal Neer scheme are in limbo. “Started in 2013, the water tank construction is complete but we don’t know whether it has water or not. Even the government pumped water cannot be trusted,” says Rajesh of Khempur village, which has a water tank and pipeline but no supply.

The constituency has 3.16 lakh voters and being a reserve constituency, Dalit dominates the politics. Samajwadi Party’s Babu Lal is the sitting MLA but he is not contesting this time. The constituency came into existence in 2012 and all three contestants of the mainstream parties have been MLA before.