Bundelkhand water crisis: 90% handpumps not functioning

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 12 May 2018 12:08:18


Staff Reporter,

The status report of drought in Bundelkhand was released on Friday, in a press conference organised by Jal Jan Jodo Abhiyan. The report says that around 90 % of hand pumps are not working in Bundelkhand region and 70 % of population are reeling under severe water crisis which also led them to migrate to other nearby areas for livelihood. Farmers of the region are facing massive crop failure.

As per reports more than 30 % crops are affected badly and around 60% are affected by the attack of pests as a result Kharif crops like Black gram, pulses and other crops are going to jeopardise in massive extent. Lack of storage has made the Rabi crops impossible. The reports of farmers suicides in the area is coming due to crop loss and loan failure. As per report done in four major districts including Tikamgarh, Chhatarpur, Panna and Damoh only 5-7 % of HP are functioning properly, Rest 20 % hand pumps are giving water very little that could not meet the drinking water need.

Women have to travel 8 to 10 km on an average to fetch water by neglecting heat storm. Almost 50-90% water bodies of Bundelkhand become dry as the depth of those traditional water bodies become dry due to siltation as a result water capacity become less. Traditional water bodies, Chandela and Bundela are major surface reserve of Bundelkhand and they were effective in maintaining groundwater level also, as the soil of this region could not recharge GW in a first manner.

In Madhya Pradesh, Bundelkhand average sowing is 63%. However, farmers could not get yield not more than 55 % as most of the crops will produce yield properly due to lack of irrigation. Farmers cultivate during monsoons and Rabi season by taking debt from banks and local money lender, monsoon crop wasted 1 in ground. As per analysis done in Chhatarpur itself around 87.4% farmers are in debt and in Tikamgarh district around 85.9% are in debt. Around 65 % of farmers migrated to other places including Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh for the search of jobs and securing life. In Chhatarpur around 67.8% population has migrated, in Tikamgarh district around 68.3% population migrated, in Panna around 59.2% population migrated and in Damoh district around 77.4% population migrated. The health condition of villagers are deteriorating. The people are suffering from Anemia, Diarrhoea, Jaundice, Malaria etc.

Three major contributors to limited availability of health services are poverty, lack of finance, lack of transportation, lack of facilities. The press conference witnessed presence of Dr Rajendra Singh, who is well-known water conservationist also known as ‘Water Man of India’. Answering to a question at press conference, he said that the apathy attitude of State government towards this crisis is very unfortunate and immediate sustainable measures needs to be taken up as Madhya Pradesh has got water resources and only need is to conserve and preserve it properly.

Malkhan Singh, a farmer Tikamgarh area, said that his family including his wife and teenage daughters have left the village along with others as they could not survive constant challenges of day today life chores faced. There were also other activist and members from Jal Jan Jodo Abhiyan who were involved in documenting the drought report status on Bundelkhand.