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J-K: Drought forces village to ration well water

Aug 31, 2009 01:19 PM IST India India
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Chang, Udhampur: Lack of water in a Kashmiri village has forced villagers to keep their wells locked. Water is rationed out to the 300 odd residents in equal amount to fight the drought-like conditions.

As the locks open, over 300 villagers line up twice every day for two buckets of water each. Following severe summers and disappointing monsoons in the state this year, Shyam Lal was assigned the task to lock the village well and ration water.

"Paani milta nahin tha. Subah sham isko do gante ke liye bandh kiya. (We didn't get water. So I started locking it for two hours in the mornings and evenings)" said Shyam Lal.

Chang is situated barely 14 kms off Udhampur district headquarters. But it has had no water supply for over 25 years. The time when the pipes were broken. The two other village wells dried up this summer and left the only functional well as the only life line.

"Do kuan aur hain door hain. Par wo sukh gaye, unko paani peene ki liye nahin hai (There are two more wells but they have dried up. There is no drinking water)," said Village Panchayat member, Bishen Das.

Jammu region alone has over 2,200 villages without water supply. The Government officials say the state is facing a drought-like situation this year, which has further depleted the water table and dried natural resources.

"Like other parts of the country we had little rains. We have our sources of water as tube wells. Once no doubt that water table depleted during summer season in some kandi area, I had reports of water table having gone down to the extend of 50," said Chief engineer, PHE, V K Abrol.

Jammu and Kashmir has submitted losses of over Rs 400 crores due to a drought like situation this year. But villages like Changh are worse affected both by delayed monsoons and ineffective administration.

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