Pregnant women suffer as Beed water-less in monsoon
Although the southwest monsoon has spread over Maharashtra, there has been no relief for the drought -affected regions of Marathwada.
Civic water supply to Beed city continued to be once in 20 days due to inadequate water storage in the Bindusara dam. Pregnant women have been suffering the most even as premature deliveries at the government hospital have risen by 34% in the last one year. June witnessed 92.3mm rainfall in Marathwada- a deficiency of 33%.
Seven months pregnant, Chaya Chavan (24), an agricultural labourer from Wadali village, around 60 km from Beed, has no option but to walk kilometre by kilometre in search of water to meet her family’s daily water needs.
Her health was of secondary importance.
“In the villages, it is the woman’s responsibility to fetch water. It doesn’t matter whether you are pregnant or ill,” said Chaya.
She said she has to walk around 2-3 km daily to get water in her ‘handa’, a utensil with 12 litres capacity, after which she begins cooking for the family. Such is the poverty that she is often forced to consume stale food even in the seventh month of her pregnancy.
Her husband too is an agricultural labourer but because of no work on the farms is now working as a waiter.
This is the situation not only in village Wadali but entire Beed district where acute water scarcity and drought conditions have taken a toll on the health of women and children.
Sulakshana Apekar, an agricultural labourer from Wadali who is six months pregnant said, “As a result of the drought, we have lost our crops and as a result of water scarcity there is no agricultural labour.
“Hence we are forced to reduce our spending on food as the drought has badly affected our earnings.”
Dr HB Wadgave, the District Health Officer (DHO) in the neighbouring Osmanabad district agreed that drought was taking a heavy toll of the health of pregnant women.
He said poverty, child marriages and the stress of drought was resulting in failed pregnancies.