Dry and lie

Published: Thursday 30 November 1995

A SURVEY by the Rajiv Gandhi National Drinking Water Mission, ministry of rural development revealed that 78 per cent of the 2,769 habitations in 18 districts of Uttar Pradesh lacked safe sources of drinking water. The study, assessing the position of potable water in the rural residences, was done in the western part of the state excepting Sitapur.

The report said most of the tubewells have been out of order over six months. Scanty rain, little groundwater recharge and heavy pumping for irrigation were lowering the water level, decreasing it by a foot every year. If the recharge capacity is not immediately increased the rural drinki -ng water system will collapse. The worst affected area is along the banks of Chambal river. A bucket of water is sold at Rs 12 there during summer. At this rate it would be impossible to stop people from migrating to other regions and states in search of potable water.

Already, contrary to the census reports, lots of villages were found uninhabited. Interestingly, India's stated position in the UN is that it has provided safe drinking water to 75 per cent of its households.

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