Drinking Water Vs Marriage

Village- NaglaPurohit, Gram Panchyat- Biriya, Agra, U.P., 2004-2005

After providing drinkable water to over 300 villages in different districts of U.P. and Uttarakhand IMPART came across this village NaglaPurohit with a heart wrecking situation.

As IMPART was already working in different parts of Agra, IMPART knew that the area has got non-drinkable water. It has too much of Arsenic, Fluoride and Iron in and that made it difficult to drink. Drinking it caused many physical ailments- From Hepatitis to jaundice and even yellowing of teeth and deformation of bones.

Nagla Purohit being a remote village was untouched from a lot of things, there were no proper roads or conveyance to go there, so even government officials and other agencies ignored it. While working in Agra IMPART learnt of Nagla Purohit and wanted to go there and work, most of the government officials looked at IMPART with dis-belief as till now no Agency had decided to work there. But the officials did decide to help.

So, IMPART’s Gaurdian, Indira Mishra with another female staff Binduvasini Srivastava decided to go there in a jeep. On their way they realised why nobody showed interest in working there as it was like going into a desert, it being close to the Rajasthan border and all one can see is sand storm and no life around. After a journey of about 4-5 hours when they finally reached Nagla Purohit, they realised the situation is worse than they thought.

Nagla Purohit a village consisting of mostly Hindu Brahmins had 80% of the men un-married, most of them touching 40-50 now as nobody would marry their daughter into a water-less village. 7-8 big and strong young men from the village had gone mentally upset because of this situation. To get drinkable water, women had to walk half a day and most of their energy was spent in just getting water to feed the family. So, nobody wanted to marry their daughter in the village where they just might die carrying water.

 

Some of the villagers had tears in their eyes narrating this story to Mrs. Indira Mishra. Mr. Ramesh Muskan, one of the representatives of the village (who’s also a stand-up comedian on Indian TV) requested IMPART to do something about this situation. IMPART with a promise to the villagers and a promise to itself returned and spoke to the then Government officials of Agra. Mrs. Indira Mishra met the then D.M.-  Mr. Sanjay,  C.D.O- Mr. Lakhan Singh and showed interest in working in Nagla Purohit. They provided positive support. So, through Rajiv Gandhi Payjal Mission under swajal dhara program IMPART started it’s work there and decided to stay in the village till the problem is resolved. IMPART’s engineering and software staff began with their work.

It took IMART nearly 2 months to do their survey and come up with results.

Engineering staff through their survey came to the results of-

1) The closest drinkable water source

2) Pipe Line feasibility survey

3) Average 40 liters of drinkable water to per person per day.

Software staff through their survey came up ready with the population of the village and worked on-  1) Making Self Help Groups (SHG’s)

2) Drinkable Water Usage Group

3) Water Management Committee

4) Purchase Committee

5) Community Monitoring Group

6) Selection of Village Maintenance Worker

6) President and Fund Manager of the above groups.

Then we got villagers to give the land which was chosen for the water tank to be made, a no-objection certificate and donate it to the drinkable water management community. Then a general agree to do meeting was done, where men showed a little hesitation as the village is supposed to collect the 20% of the full expense of the work to be done but women who were living this life of hell there decided to even sell their jewelry and collected the money. Then IMPART got the government to transfer the remaining 80% to the account of Drinkable Water Management community.

Communities were again trained for-

  • Capacity Building Training
  • Execution Phase Training
  • Purchase Management
  • Construction Supervision Training
  • Community Strengthening Training
  • Technical Planning Management
  • Contribution and Management Training
  • Operation and Maintenance Training

Not only that IMPART made them realize that this work belongs to them, IMPART also made sure they truly understand it. After the work was done government had nothing to do with it, so it was important to make them understand that from now on not only they need to raise funds to maintain it but also take care of it as their own.

” It’s your responsibility, it’s your water.”

IMAPRT also helped them with the making of water drainage and sanitation systems.

IMART never got anything paid for it because it was an out of project work with them. But what IMART did get was “satisfaction”. And after a few months of when all the work was done, we get a call from them saying- Now, there are marriages in our village and our young lads along with us are happy.

KUDOS… J