GC Impact: Pipe dreams come true; Lahuria Deh village receives piped water supply
A ground report that was part of Gaon Connection’s Paani Yatra series last summer was a catalyst that helped bring piped water to Lahuria Deh village located on a hilltop in Mirzapur district of Uttar Pradesh.
Brijendra Dubey 11 Sep 2023 7:25 AM GMT
Lahuria Deh (Mirzapur), Uttar Pradesh
The women of Lahuria Deh are finally able to sleep peacefully at night. The children of the village no longer get late for school, and men of marriageable age are happy about the prospect of finding a bride.
All this because the village, which is located in the hilly terrain of Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh and was infamous as a ‘tanker’ village, has started to receive piped water supply.
Last month, on August 29, pipelines carrying water 16 kilometres uphill to Lahuria Deh from the foothills, became operational. For the first time the 1,200 odd village inhabitants in Devhat gram panchayat had as much water as they needed, without having to ration water supplied through tankers. The neighbouring Bhaisod Balay village too has been provided piped water supply.
“Not only did we get water to the village, but our well has been repaired too. After a puja, the water from the pipeline was released into our village,” Harilal, an inhabitant of Lahuria Deh village, told Gaon Connection. He said that he was relieved as now his family members did not have to wait for a water tanker, and were no longer required to trek into the jungles to collect water from the waterfalls and streams inside.
It was a year ago, in May 2022, when as part of its Paani Yatra series, Gaon Connection published a ground report on the water woes of Lahuria Deh village, which was completely dependent on water tankers and water was rationed with each villager allowed to collect only 15 litres of water to meet all their needs — cooking, bathing, drinking.
After Gaon Connection’s report, the administration pressed additional water tankers into service however, Lahuria Deh remained a ‘tanker’ village and no one wanted to give their daughters in marriage here because of its terrible water shortage.
It was then that Divya Mittal, district magistrate of Mirzapur, took note of the water problem, visited the village, and announced the laying of pipelines to the village. And water finally reached Lahuria Deh on August 29. Mittal was, however, recently transferred to Basti district, and has now been put on a waiting list by the state government.
Budhni Devi, who lives in the village, recalled a surprise visit by the district magistrate to the dilapidated village well. “We were at the village well drawing water and she could see there was barely any water in the well. No one recognised her at first. But when we did, we asked her if she could at least arrange for more drinking water for us,” said the 50-year-old villager.
“We used to spend sleepless nights worrying about water. We had to trek many miles to the waterfall in the jungle to collect water in vessels and bring it back home,” she added.
“For 20 years or more, we had struggled. No authority had bothered with us and there were daily fights amongst us when the tanker came into the village. Summers with the temperatures hovering at 45 degrees celsius, were the worst,” she recalled.
But all that is a thing of the past now as villagers of Lahuria Deh have started to receive water through pipelines.
An uphill task
Bringing water to Lahuria Deh wasn’t an easy task. The district magistrate was appraised of the situation. Mittal was told because of the location of the village on a hilltop in eastern Uttar Pradesh, there was negligible groundwater there, and handpumps barely worked.
Under the Har Ghar Nal Yojana scheme, Mittal sanctioned the laying of the water pipes to the village at the cost of eight crore rupees. The Har Ghar Nal Yojana, a scheme launched by the central government’s Jal Jeevan Mission in 2019, assures every rural household a tap connection by 2024.
“There were a lot of challenges in laying the water pipes and reaching water to the village. Many people told me that it would be impossible to lay water pipes to the village,” district magistrate Mittal told Gaon Connection. “But the team worked hard and we did it, and I could not be happier. I hope the village progresses and its inhabitants always have enough water,” she added.
The water to the village takes a long uphill route. “The water comes from the Adva dam in Mirzapur. From there it travels to Galra Pump House and then to Drummond Ganj Pump House from where 16 kilometres of pipelines carry it to the homes of the inhabitants of Lahuria Deh and Bhaisod Balay villages, with the help of lift machines,” Naman Singh, the Jal Nigam pump operator at Drummond Ganj, told Gaon Connection.
Till now, the nearest source of water to the village was five kilometres away at Bhaisod Balay village, said Suraj Kumar Yadav. “We had to bring water back in big vessels that we sometimes transported in trucks we hired,” said the 27-year-old from Lahuria Deh.
He was thrilled that the district magistrate had made good her promise and the village now had running water. “She has also promised to upgrade the village school that is till the fifth class now and make it till class eight,” Yadav said.
However, after the piped water supply reached Lahuria Deh, Mittal was transferred to Basti district and has not now been put on a waiting list by the state government.