CHHATARPUR, MADHYA PRADESH: : In Madhya Pradesh’s Ghura village, water storage units installed as part of the Nal Jal Yojana in drought-hit Bundelkhand region quench thirst only on paper. Built three years ago at a cost of Rs 6 lakh each, they are now mere white elephants.
Avadhesh Shivhare, a resident Ghura village, said, “Here the tank has been constructed but there is no pipeline installed to fill it with water. We have three bore wells. In the evening there is a mad rush and even if one of them breaks down, we face a lot of problem.”
Some 40 km away in Pidpa village, the water pipeline has been installed but there are no taps. Facing drought for the third consecutive year, villagers have drilled holes in the pipelines to get some water which wastes precious water in a situation of extreme scarcity.
Bhaagwati Rathore, a resident Pidpa village, said, “For now we take water from the pipeline of the Nal Jal Yojana. In the process half of the water is wasted. If tanks were functional, water will not be wasted.”
After the severe drought in 2008, 150 villages in Chattarpur were allotted two water storage tanks and a pump each at a cost of Rs 6 lakh under the Bundelkhand Package announced by the UPA government.
By the government’s own admission, as many as 87 units are not working. The Public Health Engineering Department says 63 water storage units are working. A ground-level survey however shows hardly 30 are functional. The villagers allege a scam.
S K Salve, Executive Engineer, Public Health Engineering Department says, “Of the 150 projects, 87 projects are non-functional, but remaining are functional. We have even done a survey and collectors keep an eye on them.”
Chuttilal Mishra, president of the drinking water committee in Ghura village counters this claim. “You can see that this storage unit, supposedly functional in government records, does not work, it’s clearly a scam,” he said.