Gaon Connection Impact: Mizapur's 'tanker' village gets additional water supply; villagers relieved
As part of its 'Paani Yatra' series, Gaon Connection recently published a ground report highlighting the plight of Lahuria Deh village that is completely dependent on water tankers for the past 20 years. Each villager was allowed only 15 litres of water a day for all their water needs. This limit has now been quashed and additional water tankers have been pressed into service.
Brijendra Dubey 9 Jun 2022 3:46 PM GMT
Lahuria Deh (Mirzapur), Uttar Pradesh
For a change, the parched hill on which Lahuria Deh village is situated wore a festive look. On May 24, when Gaon Connection revisited the village, the mercury hovered around 45 degrees celsius, but children gleefully bathed around the water tanker that had come to this remote village, located on a hilltop in the Hallia block of Mirzapur, to supply water.
The grown ups were busy fetching water from the tankers, as much as they required, without the earlier restriction of 15 litres of water per head in this village that has been dependent on water tankers to meet all its water needs for the past 20 years.
"Earlier we were not allowed to take more than a dabba (a plastic canister weighing 15 litres) of water, but now there's no limit on the quantity of water a villager can avail," Gulabiya, a 65-year-old resident of the Lahuria Deh village, told Gaon Connection.
"It has reduced a lot of mental and physical stress for people like me as earlier we had to trek as much four to five kilometres in the blazing heat in order to fetch more water than what was allotted to us," she added.
Impact of Gaon Connection's Paani Yatra series
As part of Gaon Connection's series titled 'Paani Yatra' series, on May 12 last month, Gaon Connection published a ground report on the plight of the 975 rural residents in the Lahuria Deh village who have been reeling under severe water scarcity for at least 20 years. The village is fully dependent on water tankers.
Following Gaon Connection's report, on May 30, the state government's Department of Information & Public Relations issued a press statement announcing that the number of tankers supplying water to Lahuria Deh had been increased. It also said that there was no shortage of water in the village anymore.
"At present, a total of nine tankers are supplying 50,000 litres of water which amounts to almost 50 litres per person per day. There is no shortage of water in the Lahuria Deh village which has a population of 975 persons," the press statement issued on May 30 stated.
"Due to its location on a hilly and rocky terrain, the groundwater levels in the Lahuria Deh village fall in summers and the handpumps and other such sources of water become redundant," the official statement said.
Aditya Prasad Tiwari, the private water tanker supplier to the Lahuria Deh village told Gaon Connection that the restriction of 15 litres of water for a person for a day has been suspended by the district administration.
"I am supplying ten tankers to the village now. Earlier, there were five tankers that supplied water. There is no restriction on the use of water and the villagers are happier now," Tiwari told Gaon Connection. Each tanker of water costs Rs 700, he said.
Low tap water coverage in Mirzapur
Mirzapur district, where Lahuria Deh is located, has a poor coverage of piped water supply. As per the official data of the central government's Jal Jeevan Mission - Har Ghar Jal, as on June 9, 2022, 13. 84 per cent of the rural households in the district have piped water connections. Of the total 348,498 households, only 34,019 have been connected with piped water supply.
Overall, piped water coverage of rural households in Uttar Pradesh is 13.62 per cent, which is the lowest in the country. At national level, almost half of the rural households (49.27 per cent) have piped water connections.
Officials blame the hilly topography of the Lahuria Deh village for its water woes. In order to provide water to the village, the administration has awarded a contract to a private water tanker supplier who is hired for supplying water to the village.
However, a fixed quota of 15 litres of water per person for all their daily needs had been fixed in Lahuria Deh, which had made life of its residents extremely difficult especially during the summer months.
After the Gaon Connection report, this limit of water has been lifted and the village is being supplied water through additional water tankers.
"Earlier we had to follow the strict compulsion of using only 15 litres of water in a day but now I am happy that we are free to use water as per our individual needs," Rambabu Yadav, a resident of Lahuria Deh told Gaon Connection.
However, the cattle-rearing community in the village is still under duress as the animals are required to travel two to three kilometres on a daily basis to quench their thirst.
"A cow or a buffalo needs a lot of water to survive this scorching heat. I am praying for my animals to survive this summer as even now there is no arrangement for their water in the village," Vinod Kumar Yadav told Gaon Connection. "My livelihood depends on my animals and I hope that prashaasan (administration) comes up with a solution for the water needs of the cattle-rearing community in the village, too," he added.