Meet Sitaram Rajput : Manjhi of Bundelkhand
Sitaram Rajput, 68, popularly known as Majhi of Bundelkhand,
is an indefatigable 'young man'. He took one-and-a-half year to complete digging
of 30 feet well in October last year.
With a well full of water, a resident of Hadua village in Luv
Kush Nagar in Chhatarpur district, Rajput was a happy man. When the entire
Bundelkhand was reeling under water crisis in the wake of scanty or no rain, he
had plenty of precious natural resource.
Today, like other villagers in districts of Chhatarpur,
Tikamgarh, Panna, Damoh and Sagar in Bunelkhand region, Rajput and his family
are thirsty. Of 80 bighas of land they own, hardly 10 bighas has been sown.
About 170 km from his village, men with guns guard precious
water in Jamuniya river at Bari ghat dam in Tikamgarh district. Armed security
guards have been hired by the city's municipal body to stop farmers of
neighbouring Uttar Pradesh from "stealing" river's water. Amid this water
crisis, Jamuniya is the only source of drinking water for one lakh people of
After 2014 drought, 2015 was second consecutive year, when
the rain god did not smile on the region. Regular piped water is still a distant
dream for residents in Bundelkhand.
PHE minister Kusum Mehdele, who comes from Panna district,
said, "The water table is receding fast and sources almost dried up. We plan to
supply water through tankers in remote areas."
Madhya Pradesh has already declared 60% districts of the
state--35 of 51districts as drought-hit. Large part of western Madhya Pradesh,
northern MP among other regions have already been facing severe water crisis.
Satanwada village of Shivpuri district, which witnessed violence over water, has
been one of the worst affected districts. Water is being supplied once in seven
days in Shivpuri town. With deepening water crisis, the situation is all set to
worsen in villages. District collector Rajeev Chandra Dube however said,
"Situation is under control and water is being distributed through tankers."
Courtesy: The Times of India