In yet another aversion to the dalits, as many as 40 Dalit families are being forced to live in insanitary conditions in Lubana Teku village, leading to poor health of the colony residents.
Three newly-wed daughters-in-law of the residents had to be convinced by the panchayat and senior villagers to come back after they had left due to the continuous stink and unhealthy conditions at the colony.
The drain carrying sewage water from Dalit Colony passes through a small piece of land, which is being claimed by the neighbouring villages of Lubana Karmu and Lubana Teku, leading to a dispute over the right to dispose water there.
The dispute of ownership remains unsolved as the administration claims that the measurements can be done only after the harvest of paddy crop.
The Teku villagers have protested a number of times for a solution and the administration has asked the panchayat of Karmu not to block the drain.
Meanwhile, water is being disposed off in a small pit, and the overflowing water is being accommodated by the neighbouring farmers to maintain peace.
“How long will the farmers accommodate the water? There are times when they need their fields to remain dry,” said the residents, asking for a permanent solution to the issue.
For the rest of the villagers, both the villages have a common water disposal pond in Karmu, but the Dalit Colony drains remain disconnected from these.
“Both the villages stand against each other and a tensed environment prevails here, but no permanent solution is worked out by the administration,” says villager Krishan Kumar
Lubana Teku panch Bharpoor Singh said that the technical problems, in connecting the affected colony drains with other drains in the village, is because the colony is situated on a 4-feet lower side. Also, Karmu residents are not allowing the drainage of the colony water to join the common puddle through their drains which are just 20 feet far, he added. “We are poor, so how will we lift our houses up by four feet?” said the colony residents.
On the other side, Lubana Karmu sarpanch Amrinder Singh said, “We have not denied to dispose water in the common puddle, but if it has to pass through our village, it should go through underground sewage pipes only. And the cost has to be incurred by their panchayat. Unlike us, they have 120 acres of panchayat land and they received grant from the state government. But the administration is suppressing us only.”
“Police were deployed after struggles, to allow the disposal of sewage water from Dalit houses of Lubana Karmu, to the common puddle. Here too, Dalits are the only sufferers,” said a dalit of Teku requesting anonymity.
Similar story of Thuhi
In Thuhi village as well, the Dalits are forced to live between two puddles. Former SDM Harpreet Singh Soodan had directed the block development and panchayat office, on August 16, to prepare the estimate for shifting the puddle to the village’s outer side within 15 days; but the villagers claim that nothing has moved ahead since then. Not even the estimate has come up.
“The villagers stood against each other with weapons last week, when the affected dalits allegedly temporarily blocked the disposal in the newly-opened puddle around their colony. The whole village is a sufferer of the poor drainage system,” said Gurmeet Singh of Thuhi.
The caste division is fuelled by a few politicians with the help of the administration, and the government is watching all this mutely, he added.
The block development and panchayat office (BDPO) could not be reached for a comment despite repeated attempts.