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| Last Updated:18/02/2014

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Water scarcity looms large in villages

MADURAI BUREAU, The Hindu, 18 February, 2014


A foretaste before summer:Women from Periakottai staging a protest in Dindigul on Monday.(Right) Women from Kanattangudi holding a demonstration in Ramanathapuram— PHOTOs: G. KARTHIKEYAN and L. Balachandar

Residents stage demonstration at Collectorates in Dindigul and Ramanathapuram


DINDIGUL: More than 300 women from Periakottai thronged the Collectorate here on Monday condemning erratic drinking water supply and lack of basic amenities at their panchayat.


They took out a procession from the Dindigul-Karur highway to the Collectorate and staged a demonstration. They said drinking water supply was erratic in their panchayat with a population of around 5,000 people. There was no water supply for the past three months.


The groundwater table had gone down beyond pumping level and all drinking water sources dried up. Water was neither available for drinking nor for other purposes. The panchayat administration did not take any effort to find an alternative source to maintain water supply. “Since there is no proper drainage facility, sewage water flows on streets and cesspools can be found at street corners,” alleged Selvaraj, a villager.


The protesters handed over a petition to the Collector.


In Ramanathapuram


The drinking water crisis at Kanattangudi village in Thiruvadanai block in the district is so acute that women had to walk across the fields for about four km to fetch one pot of water in a neighbouring village, that too after waiting for hours.


Ever since the AR Mangalam integrated water supply scheme drew to a close in 2011, Kanattangudi village under the Kottakudi panchayat started facing severe drinking water crisis, forcing the villagers to buy water, by hiring water tankers or walk down to nearby villages to fetch water.


On Public grievance redressal day on Monday, they thronged the Collectorate with empty pots and staged a demonstration, demanding that the district administration take immediate steps to arrange for drinking water.


As their village was located about 50 km away, the villagers, mostly women, came to the Collectorate by hiring a bus. “We have been struggling for water for the past three and a half years and walk three to five kms on alternative days to Kadukalur, Senathikottai and Kottakudi villages to fetch a pot of drinking water,” says G. Kannagi.


As the village could not get water under the Combined Cauvery drinking water scheme, the villagers had to depend on ooranies (waterbodies) for bathing and washing and nearby villages for getting drinking water, she said. “After sending my two children to school at 7.45 a.m., I will walk down to one of the neighbouring villages to fetch one pot of drinking water and return home only around noon,” says C. Rani. Doctors have advised the villagers not to use the water in the oorani for bathing, but the villagers had no choice, she said. Presently, about 85 families in the village were buying water, by hiring water tankers and paying Rs.5 per pot of water, said R. Ganesan, the village leader, under whose leadership the villagers had come.


Admitting that people bought water paying Rs.5 per pot, K. Jayalakshmi, panchayat president, said these villages could not get water under the Combined Cauvery drinking water scheme, despite laying of pipelines.


As the groundwater in these villages had become saline, distribution of water supply by sinking borewells was not possible, she said. As a contingency measure, a well was being sunk at Kadukalur for supplying drinking water, she added.