BARIPADA: For people of Gajapathar and Aswakuti Chowk Sahi villages in Kaptipada block, muddy water drawn from pits dug in paddy fields is the only means to keep themselves alive, the enormous health risks notwithstanding. The tribal dominated villages with a population of 300 and 200 respectively have no other option as the Government has failed to provide water supply to the not so remote pockets of the district.
Gajapthar villagers were forced to dig pits in their paddy fields as the lone tubewell in village was rendered defunct eight years back. Though the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation (RWSS) department supplies water through tankers four times a week, it does not meet the requirement. They have been pleading for installing another tubewell at a suitable location in the village but no step has been taken by the administration.
The plight of people of Aswakuti Chowk Sahi village is similar. Though, there is a tubewell at neighbouring Talasahi village, people from this village are most often not allowed to draw water by the locals. Thus, they are also forced to depend on pits.
Turi Sing, a senior citizen of the village said the tall claims of the administration of having developed the area have fallen flat as the struggle for water seems to have no end. "Thanks to the apathy of the Government, I have been witnessing the problem since my childhood," he rued.
Meanwhile, Mayurbhanj Collector Vineet Bhardwaj said he will direct officers of RWSS department in Kaptipada block to visit the villages. He said the tube-well at Gajapathar will be repaired and arrangements made for drinking water at Aswakuti.