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Showing the dark side of emerging India, a new government surveys shows that half of the women in rural India have to walk up to 5km every day to fetch potable water.
The National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) survey of as many as 95,000 households also found that the average time to fetch drinking water in rural India was 35 minutes while it was 31 minutes in the urban areas. Half of this time gets lost in a queue waiting for one’s turn.
The survey said in 2012, 85.8% of households in the rural India and 89.6% of households in the urban India got sufficient water as compared to 86.2% and 91.1% households respectively in 2008-09.
“In rural areas, Uttar Pradesh (97.1%) supplied the highest while Jharkhand (70.3%) the lowest sufficient drinking water. In the urban areas, UP had the highest proportion (96.6%) and Madhya Pradesh the lowest (76.2%) proportion,” the survey found.
The survey revealed that in 2012, 46.1% of households in the rural India got drinking water facility at home as compared to 76.8% in the urban areas. It is a 5% increase since 2008.
In rural areas, Punjab had the highest proportion of homes having drinking water facility while Chhattisgarh was at the bottom. Similarly, in the urban areas, Himachal Pradesh had the highest proportion of homes having drinking facility at homes and West Bengal was at the bottom of the list.
The remaining households had to travel up to 5 km a day to fetch their daily requirement of drinking water. However, the number of households having to travel between 2 to 5 km has increased between 2008-09 and 2012, the survey found.
The survey showed that considerably high waiting time —more than 20 minutes — to fetch water in prosperous places like Delhi, Chandigarh and Gujarat. However, the highest waiting time to get water was 24 minutes in Rajasthan and lowest of three minutes in Manipur.