Buckets empty, but eyes filled with rage
Filled with anger over erratic water supply to the Dalit colonies of Mehna in this district, the affected people laid empty buckets outside the village waterworks.punjab Updated: Jul 18, 2012 14:14 IST
Filled with anger over erratic water supply to the Dalit colonies of Mehna in this district, the affected people on Tuesday laid empty buckets outside the village waterworks.
Even after six days without pure drinking water, they have no help from the public health engineering department. Gurcharan Singh, president of the Pendu Mazdoor Union, led them into the protest that drew many women out.
At the time of election, the Shiromani Akali Dal and Bharatiya Janata Party had promised voters that their government would ensure that all villages received drinking water, said Gurcharan Singh. "To the poor, the reverse-osmosis (RO) water purification system inside the village is out of bounds (they haven't paid the bills)," he added. "Thanks to a leakage from damaged pipes, the waterworks is out of order for now a week. We lodged a complaint with the gram panchayat and public health office."
Baljit Singh and Chamkaur Singh, men from Dalit colonies of Mehna, see their women collect water from 2 km far. "Our children and the elderly are in discomfort because of the shortage of water in summer," said Baljit Singh. "Some of us have left our children at relatives'," said Chamkaur Singh.
Sarpanch Harpal Singh agreed that his gram panchayat ran the waterworks but said many villagers were yet to pay the monthly bills for water. "The Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) had sent an electricity bill for Rs 1.18 lakh to the panchayat. Last month, the state government had issued us some money for development, and the village body passed a resolution to use it to clear the bill," he said.
"The RO system is operated under the state government rules," said the sarpanch. "Anybody who pays the bills is free to take water from the RO station."