Drinking water shortage acute in Brahmanagar, ThoriResidents have said that only those who promise to fix the problem will get their votes in next month’s federal and provincial elections.
Brahmanagar settlement in Thori Rural Municipality-3, Parsa, is under acute shortage of drinking water. The settlement of 150 households has an old tube well as the only source of drinking water to quench the thirst of the villagers.
“We have had a crisis of drinking water for a long time. The local people have to be frugal in using water as if it were the rarest thing in their lives,” said Bharat Shrestha, a local resident. According to him, the villagers lift water from the tube well by using a motor for an hour daily and distribute it to each household equally.
The people have been managing the tube well at their own initiative and with their own resources. Until four years ago, they used to lift water for two hours daily. As groundwater depletes, the villagers have had to cut their pumping time.
“One can imagine how much water a family gets with the resource lifted just for an hour. The hardship of the locals is inexplicable,” said Shrestha.
The local people vented their ire stating that the government authorities and the people’s representatives are indifferent to addressing the longstanding problem of drinking water in Brahmanagar. They complained that they had requested various political parties and their leaders to resolve the chronic problem, but to no avail.
“The election fever has gripped the country. Candidates have started visiting our village. We have decided to vote in the upcoming elections for those who address our problem,” said Shrestha. According to him, all the villagers unequivocally raise the issue of drinking water with the candidates and politicians as they come campaigning.
Brahmanagar is around 50 km west of Birgunj, the district headquarters of Parsa and the country’s major import hub.
“We attempted to construct a tube well a few years ago but we could not find water even 150 metres underground,” said Bharat Bishwakarma, another resident of Brahmanagar.
“We are to be pitied to face such a chronic drinking water crisis in the 21st century. And the leaders who were elected through our votes did nothing to resolve our problem,” Bishwakarma vented his anger, charging the leaders and political parties with ignoring their problem.
The women, who traditionally perform household chores, are hardest hit by the drinking water crisis. “A household gets one gagri (traditional water pot) of water on a given day. We have to use it for drinking and cooking food,” complained Parbati Shrestha.
“We have to use the murky water of the irrigation canal due to the shortage of tap water. There should be at least six taps or hand pumps to supply drinking water to the villagers”.
The villagers are dependent on the murky water channelised to the villagers from the nearby Odarkhola stream. “The water in the canal is unusable especially in the rainy season. But we have no alternative to it. The wild animals also frequently damage the canal and muddy the water,” said Bishwakarma.
The elected representatives admit that they could not work as expected to resolve the chronic water crisis in Brahmanagar. “A drinking water project is under construction at Sirantol in the settlement with the financial assistance of the provincial government. It aims to install a deep tube well and distribute water by constructing an overhead reserve tank. The drinking water crisis will be resolved with the completion of the project,” said Shambhu Bahadur Khadka, the ward chairman of Thori-3. But the ward chief was quick to add that it would take some months, if not years, to accomplish the water project.