Women threaten poll boycott to highlight water crisis in Kendrapara

The irate women, holding empty pots and buckets, gheraoed the Derabishi block office here demanding an immediate supply of potable water.
Women with empty pots and buckets stage protest at the block office in Derabishi
Women with empty pots and buckets stage protest at the block office in Derabishi

KENDRAPARA: Irked over the scarcity of drinking water, womenfolk of Kaupada, Barabatia, Naranapur and nearby villages in Derabishi block took to the streets on Friday.

The irate women, holding empty pots and buckets, gheraoed the Derabishi block office here demanding immediate supply of potable water. The agitators also threatened to boycott the upcoming polls if the drinking water crisis was not resolved soon.

Madhusmita Mallick of Naranapur said two tube-wells in the village have become defunct. Despite repeated complaints, the authorities concerned failed to repair the tube-wells. “Groundwater level is depleting due to shortage of water in the river. As a result, most of tube-wells become defunct in the summer. Villagers are forced to walk around one km to collect drinking water from a well. With the government officials unable to provide any relief, villagers have resigned to their fate,” rued Mamuni.

Another agitator Minati Mallick of Kaupada claimed villagers are forced to drink water from the local pond due to leakage in pipes. “We are getting soil-laced dirty water from the pipelines due to leakage and illegal tapping by some miscreants.”

Gayatri Mallick of Barabatia said villagers have decided to boycott the upcoming election if the authorities failed to provide them regular water supply. The water situation here is really bad and the authorities are not working to solve the problem. “The local politicians come to us for votes but do not care to solve our problems. Our demands have never been taken seriously. If we do not boycott the polls, our demand will remain unfulfilled for another five years,” said Gayatri.

Contacted, assistant engineer of Rural Water Supply and Sanitation (RWSS) of Derabishi Bibhudutta Das said, “We are supplying water through pipelines. However, some miscreants have been stealing the water by illegally tapping the pipelines through motors to irrigate their agricultural land. As a result, villagers residing in tail-end areas are not getting adequate water. We will take action against the water thieves soon.”

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