A cool Summer This Time….
Come summer and the tension for water raises, rivers, tanks and bore wells all dry up. Open wells get bare. People walk kilometres hunting for water. Surapur village is no different from this situation. Villagers would raise the water scarcity issue in Village Panchyat Gram Sabha; but to no effect. Majority (more than 90%) in the village are scheduled caste and landless labourers. Forgoing wages for the sake of collecting water was inevitable but difficult. Frequent requests to panchayat members and appeal for water tankers all went in vain.
Jagruta Mahila Okkoota (JMO) took the matter seriously. Together with the villagers an urgent meeting was arranged in the house of the Gram Panchayat President at night. The Panchayat Development Officer (PDO) and the Panchayat Secretary listened to the grievances of the villagers and expressed their helplessness in this regard as all their efforts to dig bore wells in different areas of the village had gone futile. They ultimately requested the villagers to get a bore well dug in the area of their choice and promised to fund the work.
The villagers decided the village tank as the most suitable area for digging the bore well and immediately got into action. A bore well was dug and people were happy that their water problem would be solved, but… luck was again against them The present bore well was only 20 feet away from the bore well of a village leader who took objection and took the matter to the court. He would also create problems to water supply through the newly dug public bore well.
JMO intervened again and with the support of other local people’s associations like Bheema Sena and Karnataka Rakshana Vedike a demonstration was organised at the Panchayat office in March 2013 demanding for the survey of the tank area which the leader was claiming as his own property. As the PDO, the Secretary and Panchayat members took the matter lightly, the villagers got enraged and locked them all in the Panchayat Office and warned that they would not be released unless the concerned officers from the taluk office come to the spot and give a solution to their problem. When the matter was informed to the taluk Panchayat the senior officers, Executive Officer, Tehesildar and the Engineer arrived to the Panchayat, and ordered the Panchayat PDO and the Secretary to give a temporary solution at least till the survey of the tank area was done. The villagers would not settle for a temporary solution and warned all the concerned officers that they would not move from the place unless the tank area was surveyed. The people’s power won ultimately and the PDO Officer gave an undertaking that the tank area would be surveyed immediately.
Concerned staff and the officers came for conducting the survey to the tank area. While the demarcation was about to start the leader again took objections saying that the adjacent land owners should be served with a notice while such survey is being under taken. During the process of discussions with him all the officers disappeared which further aroused the anger of the people. They again went back to the Panchyat and sat there overnight demanding for survey. Ultimately officers had to heed to the people’s demand, demarcate the land and declare that the newly dug bore well was in the public land and the village people had full right over it. The survey also proved the bore well of the leader as illegal. Under Zilla Panchayat fund a wall was also built around the bore well to ensure cleanliness.
Villagers are blessed with regular and clean water supply today and are relieved that during the summer they do not have to forgo their wages hunting for water.