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Paushalas: Catering to thirsty

india Updated: Jun 22, 2006 00:07 IST

FREE-WATER joints or “piyaoos” in the city are the only source for providing  water to thirsty people who toil from morning to  night to earn their livelihood. Though there are several joints selling cold drinks and  mineral water, these  sophisticated drinks are beyond the reach of the common  man.

Though  it  is the duty of the Kanpur Municipal Corporation (KMC) to put up  street-side water taps to facilitate the people, for some reasons it  seems to have relinquished the job of quenching the thirst of the poor men living in the  city limits.

Thousands of  people from rural areas and neighbouring districts come  to this city every day in pursuit of  their business by train or bus. But the facility of tap water is lacking at  the bus stand as well as at the railway station. Often the water taps on the railway platforms go dry and  the train passengers face water scarcity.

The bus stand has only one tap which is inadequate to cater to the needs of a large number of bus passengers. Consequently, after reaching the city, the passengers frantically search for a water tap to  quench their thirst.

Had ‘paushalas’ not been set up by philanthropists along the roads and outside their houses in isolated localities, the thirsty lot of passengers and commuters might have been in great difficulty and they would have had to pay handsomely for a glass of water.

There are water-stalls which sell highly contaminated water at Re 1 per glass.

But  the majority of daily commuters find it safe and economical to  enjoy the water supplied free of cost by the paushalas. At some places affluent persons have kept big earthen pots on the roadsides . These offer self-service.

Thirsty men  can take out the water  to drink. The popular paushala system is likely to become even more popular in view of the growing water crisis in the city.