Power, water crisis rattles villagers; Raje meets the affected
People in Bharatpur and Dholpur districts are reeling under power and water crisis after high-speed dust storm hit parts of Rajasthan on Wednesday night.
Nineteen people died in Bharatpur and eight in Dholpur in the sand storm. Schools in Bharatpur remained closed due to lack of power and water supply.
Chief minister Vasundhara Raje met bereaved families in Bharatpur and Dholpur on Friday and offered them her condolences.
Local politicians demanded compensation of Rs 5 lakh each to the next of kin of the deceased. The government on Thursday announced Rs 4 lakh.
After Raje landed at Januthar village, locals raised slogans at the helipad, demanding restoration of power and water supply. The CM met three families at Januthar village in Deeg block. Villagers gave her a memorandum, demanding higher compensation to families of the dead.
Criticising the CM for meeting only three families, farmers’ leader Nem Singh alleged that Raje was playing politics over deaths. “She should have met all bereaved families.”
In Dholpur, Raje met families at Lebdapura village under Baseri sub-division.
Power outage has affected drinking water supply to Bharatpur, which bore the brunt of the sand storm followed by heavy rain. Most government tube wells run on electricity.
Nearly 2,500 villages in the district and 50 wards of the Bharatpur Municipal Corporation are facing drinking water crisis. People were forced to shell out Rs 1,500-2,000 for a tanker to get water.
Pratap Singh, who runs a water tanker, said he paid Rs 200 to fill a tanker from tube wells. “We sell a tanker for Rs 1500-2000.” Manoj Saini, who owns a tube well in Kali Bagichi, said he was overcharging tankers because of increased demand.
“People are unable to take bath for two days,” said Dhirendra Pal Singh, a local.
Water resources department executive engineer Uttam Singh said the department was making all efforts to restore water supply.
State Congress senior vice-president Vishvendra Singh demanded reassessment of loss and restoration of water and power supply at the earliest. “It is shameful that people at the divisional headquarters are without electricity for more than 40 hours,” he said.
Lupin Human Welfare and Research Foundation director Sitaram Gupta blamed power department officials for lack of electricity in the district.
Bharatpur gets power from five sources – Agra in Uttar Pradesh, Dholpur, Dausa, Alwar and Nadbai. Gupta said, “There have been two storms in Bharatpur in last 20 days, but the government has made no back-up plans.”