In Haryana’s Nuh, Water Continues to Be Just a Pre-Poll Promise
Despite the promise of regular supply, residents of Nuh district in Haryana have to pay Rs 3,000 per month for water
Video Editor: Abhishek Sharma
Cameraperson: Akanksha Kumar
As one enters Nuh district in Haryana, your attention is drawn to food hawkers, with large steel vessels, standing on either side of the road. These are the quintessential biryani sellers of Mewat district which was renamed as Nuh in 2016.
Move 20 km further on the same road and soon the sight of men queuing for a plate of biryani is replaced with people jostling around a tractor attached to a water tanker.
Welcome to the Bhadas village where the struggle for water is a part of daily life!
Private Tankers: Only Source of Water in Bhadas Village
The moment a water tanker halts near the village on the main road, residents rush with a plastic hose, running up to several metres, to be attached to the nozzle of the private tanker, finally ending up inside the house into an underground water tank.
There are 1,200 families living in Bhadas village and every single household has built a cement tank for storing water, locally known as ‘kunda’.
Seventy-year-old Atri says water is a big problem in the area. In a joint family comprising 15 members, water stored in the kunda is never enough.
“We face lot of problems. (Private tanker) charges Rs 1,000 and doesn’t last even for a month.”Atri, Resident, Bhadas village
Holding a white misbaha (prayer beads), Atri says how the same water stored in the kunda is used for all the household chores – from drinking to washing clothes, even for animals. Spending Rs 1,000 on a private tanker is something that bothers Atri.
Atri’s neighbour, Rishal Khan shared similar concerns. A driver by profession, Rishal lashed out at the government for not being able to provide regular water supply till date.
“Everything exists on paper. Paperwork shows that water connection is available across the village.”Rishal Khan, Resident, Bhadas village
Rs 1,000 Per Tanker is Costly for People in Nagina
Five kilometres from Bhadas lies Nagina village where residents have built cemented tank-like structures above the ground on a raised platform. According to locals they have to spend up to Rs 3,000 per month on just water.
A single trip by private tanker costs between Rs 900 and Rs 1,000 and every household is dependent on three tankers every month.
“One tanker costs Rs 900. It is problematic as there is no (permanent) source of income leading to poverty.”Jaipha, Resident, Nagina village
For Jaipha whose husband is a daily wage labourer, water comes at a cost which is unaffordable for a family of four. Jaipha’s sister-in-law Jannati admits that their kids skip taking a bath daily just so that there is enough water for a week.
Both Jaipha and Jannati also feel that even the quality of water being delivered by private tankers is not so good.
But in an area where there is no water line even after 71 years of independence, one is left with very little choice when it comes to quality.
Canal Built Under Chautala is Waiting for Water Supply
Abdul Satar who works as a librarian at a government college in Nagina has lost all hopes of seeing regular water supply anytime soon.
As a librarian, there are some administrative duties as well which fall upon Satar and one such responsibility is to ensure there’s enough water for students in the school tank.
Delay on the part of private tankers means that Satar has even gone to school at midnight when the school tank has gone dry.
Standing on the side of a canal in Nagina village, Satar points towards the grass that has grown in the middle.
The canal was built when Om Prakash Chautala was the chief minister but water never came down this canal.
“It’s been 18 years since this canal was constructed. Water was released for a day in order to check its supply.”Abdul Satar, Librarian, Govt College (Nagina)
Only Promises & Schemes by Politicians, No Action
According to lawyer and activist Ramzan Chaudhary, water crisis has continued to plague Nuh district for several decades.
Every election heralds a new set of promises by leaders only to be forgotten later. One such promise was of the Mewat canal, which has been hanging fire since the 70s.
“Elections are coming so they will promise ‘Yes, we will dig a canal here and water will be available for irrigation’. But they do nothing.”Yusuf, Farmer, Bhadas Village
Locals say that the first demand for a separate canal through Mewat district was made in 1972.
A scheme launched by the UPA government in 2004 failed to change the fortunes of the Mewatis who continue to yearn for water.
“The Rajiv Gandhi Drinking Water scheme was launched in 2004. This Rainy Well scheme turned out to be useful in some areas but other areas continue to face water shortage.”Ramzan Chaudhary, Lawyer & Activist
The current BJP government has been no better with farmers alleging that the local MP Rao Inderjit Singh has never even visited the area in the last five years.
Jaipha and Jannati haven’t made up their minds yet who they will vote for on 12 May when Haryana will be going to polls. But Atri’s son Arif is pretty sure he won’t vote for Rao Inderjit Singh this time.
(All 'My Report' branded stories are submitted by citizen journalists to The Quint. Though The Quint inquires into the claims/allegations from all parties before publishing, the report and the views expressed above are the citizen journalist's own. The Quint neither endorses, nor is responsible for the same.)
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