By Joymala Bagchi
Bankura (West Bengal) [India], May 11 (ANI): Shuili Bona village in Saltora block in West Bengal's Bankura district, home to nearly 400 Santhals, is on the verge of becoming parched due to acute water scarcity.
Shuili Bona is not the sole village caught in this desperate situation.
Other villages, including Jamsola, Nodi, Luchhipur, Gidhuria, all part of an entire tribal belt that stretches across Saltora, Khatra and Taldangra blocks in the Bankura district have been facing similar water crisis conditions.
The quest for drinking water is unending for the residents of these villages. Acute water shortage has compelled the villagers, mostly women to travel up to four kilometres to fetch drinking water from the nearby river.
The situation worsens when the villagers are unable to access sanitation facilities.
Talking to ANI, Shanti Murmu, a resident of Shuili Bona village, said, "We have bathrooms but tell me how shall I use it without water? What else we can do other than going into the forest? Leaders come here during election time and assure us of a solution, however, we never see them once the elections are over."
In addition, with the onset of the summer season, the villagers are forced to travel even longer distances in search of drinking water.
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI-M) had ruled the district since the 1970s until TMC made its way by winning the Lok Sabha constituency in 2014. However, crucial issues such as drinking water problem, unemployment, poverty, and education still remain some of the major concerns for the locals.
CPM candidate from Bankura, Amiya Patra told ANI, "Despite efforts by the present government, water crisis persists here and the problem will continue. The water table is going down and most of the tube wells fail to work properly due to this. Underground water recharge is mandatory to improve the water level and the situation."
Recently, TMC candidate Subrata Mukherjee was not allowed to enter the Lakhanpur village in Saltora block for campaigning as the villagers demanded water crisis be resolved first before he starts campaigning.
Subhash Sarkar, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate from Bankura Parliamentary constituency, said, "I ensure to act on the water crisis with utmost importance if I win."
In the sixth phase Bankura, Bishnupur, Ghatal, Jhargram, Kanthi, Medinipur, Purulia, and Tamluk will go to polls in West Bengal on May 12. Counting of votes will take place on May 23. (ANI)
Villages in West Bengal's Bankura district face acute water scarcity
Joymala Bagchi | Updated: May 11, 2019 16:16 IST
By Joymala Bagchi