Woman digs 15-feet well at home to help ailing mother fetch waterUpdated: Jun 29, 2020 23:54 IST
Kolkata: As a child, Bobita Soren, 24, would helplessly see her mother, Nina, struggle to fetch water in West Bengal’s Asansol. Nina often braved extreme weather to walk to the nearest water source to get it, leaving Soren to wonder how could she come up with a permanent solution until she thought of digging a well. The Covid-19 lockdown allowed her to finish digging the well that she began in late 2019 as she returned home after her college and hostel were shut. She had left the work half done during a holiday break.
Soren has dug the 15-feet well inside her house to ensure her 50-year-old ailing mother does not have to walk to get water 200 m away several times daily under the scorching sun and after standing in queue for 30 minutes.
“My mother Nina Soren suffers from anemia and is very weak. Since I was a child, I used to see her work very hard to fetch water. I used to become very sad. She had to walk under the scorching sun and stand in a queue to bring water. I was trying to come up with a permanent solution. Suddenly it struck me that I can dig a well,” said Soren, who has completed her MA in Political Science and is pursuing BEd from Burdwan district.
Soren’s effort has drawn parallels with Dashrath Manjhi, famously known as the Mountain Man, who become famous for digging a road through a hillock in Bihar using only a hammer and chisel in memory of his wife. Manjhi’s wife died in their remote village for the want of medical care as they could not reach the nearest town with a doctor. He died in 2007.
Soren said her father and brother helped her by tying the ropes tightly with which she would go down and dig whenever she got time from household chores. “This continued for the last two to three weeks, until I hit the water table. Sometimes my sister helped me to bring out the soil but she had her job to sustain,” she said.
Soren, who usually does all the paperwork for her family, initially thought of contacting the village panchayat but then backed out as her family would have been unable to bear the cost for digging the well. Also because of the lockdown, labourers were unavailable and it would have taken time.
Her father, Hapna, works in a local factory, while her brother is a driver. Her elder sister works in a local garment shop.
Senior officials of the local administration rushed to her house on Sunday when they got to know about her feat.
“We were awestruck when we saw the well. We have assured her that the administration will dig the rest and make it a 30-feet deep well so that they can get proper drinking water and make it a concrete one. We will also pay her the money it takes to dig a well. Within this week, she will get a laptop and we are also trying to give her a job,” said Tapas Banerjee, the local legislator and chairman of the Asansol Durgapur Development Authority.