JAGATSINGHPUR: Women of Mangarajpur panchayat under Kujang block have ushered in a revolution by renovating water bodies in their locality. The women have undertaken tasks such as digging of ponds and erection of embankment on the river for creating pools of water to overcome the problem of acute water scarcity.
Mangarajpur panchayat, with a population of more than 5,000, comprises five revenue villages - Mangarajpur, Hasina, Santra, Krushanchandrapur, and Talapada. All the villages, including Taladanada of neighbouring Gopiakuda panchayat, are facing a severe water crisis. It is common for women of these villages to stage protests in front of the block office protesting against the crisis.
Though the panchayat has more than 40 tube wells, they dispense saline water. Drinking water, which is being supplied to the panchayat under the pipe water scheme, is yet to reach all its villages. What’s worse is that the water bodies, including village ponds, have dried up and the receding groundwater level has only added to the woes of the people. Despite frequent agitations, nothing has been done by the authorities concerned to improve the situation.
This prompted the women, led by Sarpanch Purnima Tripathy, to undertake the renovation of water bodies in the area. Battling several challenges, these homemakers, aged between 35 and 70 years, have renovated more than six dried ponds and erected embankment on Halidipani river to create a new pond to make its water safe for use during summer.
The women have also renovated a dried pond by removing weeds at Barikshai hamlet of the panchayat. Minakhi Swain, Ahalya Das, Santi Ojha and Sati Barik of the panchayat said, “We did not know anything about the digging of well or erecting embankments. But, we relied on our group effort and confidence. We gradually learned the basics of the work through experience. We feel proud that we could take up the tough task and achieve success.”
The women have also contributed to repair of the roads in the panchayat. Purnima said the women of the panchayat do not accept remuneration for their work.