Migration of people from villages in search for water continues to be a trend during the summers even after the launch of ‘Gram Uday Se Bharat Uday Abhiyan’ (Village Self Governance Campaign).
The campaign aims to generate nation-wide efforts to increase social harmony across villages, strengthen Panchayati Raj, promote rural development, and foster farmers’ progress.
However, due to large scale water scarcity in villages falling under the Gwalior Gramin assembly constituency, 25 km from the district headquarters, villagers temporarily migrate to neighboring places like bordering Chambal to meet their drinking water needs and to support their livestock.
Despite repeated reminders and requests to public representatives and ministers asking for redressal of the ongoing water issue, no help has come from any quarter, said villagers.
Water shortage has also thrown some villages like Kaitha, Kalakhet and Lakhanpura in a bad light.
Elders of Kaitha village say that along with the water, marriage proposals for village youths have also dried up.
Over three dozen youngsters between the age group of 35 and 40 years are still unmarried in Kaitha village which is inhabited by around 300 people mostly belonging to the Gurjar community.
A villager, Veerbal Singh, said families were reluctant to marry their daughters in this village fearing hardships and tough life for women owning to water scarcity.
Villagers have to travel for a distance of over 1.5 km every day to fetch water from the Sank river for their daily requirements.
There are two hand pumps in Kaitha but they have become dry due to the falling underground water table.
Sustaining livestock -- including their bathing and providing fodder to them – is another major problem faced by the residents, said Pehalwan Singh, a villager.
“We were unable to raise or increase livestock population which essentially is our traditional business involving milk production,” said Rameshwar Singh, a resident of Kaitha.
Kaitha village Sarpanch Mukesh echoed similar views. He said he considered himself lucky as he got married after he was elected as sarpanch.
“The marriage problem remains as every youth in the village cannot get elected as a sarpanch,” Mukesh said.
Jila Panchayat CEO Neeraj Singh admitted that there was a water scarcity in these villages.
“We were trying to address it through Nal-Jal Yojana (water supply scheme) involving public participation,” he said.
Under the scheme, villagers are required to make some contribution — about 3% of the total scheme expenditure.