‘No water, no votes’: Poll plan of villagers in Uttarakhand district in 2019
People from about 40 villages in Uttarakhand’s Pauri Garhwal district have threatened to boycott the 2019 Lok Sabha elections if water crisis in their area is not solved.
The villagers from Kot block held a protest outside the district magistrate’s office on Friday, demanding a drinking water scheme.
“The villagers want a separate drinking water scheme for their area. They are now provided water under Ramkund drinking water scheme but that is not sufficient to meet needs of all the villages,” said Pauri Garhwal district magistrate Sushil Kumar. “The administration has sent a draft of the new scheme to the state government in November after changes in the initial draft; we are waiting for funds to be cleared.”
Shipal Singh Chauhan, a villager who participated in the protest, said their area has not been getting drinking water for months. “We want work on Ramkund drinking water system to start at the earliest,” he said.
“We met the district administration officials and they have assured us that our problems will be solved. But we are being given such false promises for a long time now. If our demand is not met, we might boycott the Lok Sabha elections.”
Minister for drinking water and sanitation Prakash Pant said poll boycott threat was only a way to pressure the government.
“We are working on the revised scheme as the initial draft was not as per the permitted per capita cost. The villagers are getting water even now, but there has been reduction in inflow of water from the source,” Pant said. “The project and the work will be finished by March 2019.”
As per the National Rural Drinking Water Programme, the per capita cost for such projects should be between 20,000 and 22,000.