The residents have set up a drinking water project, independent of the Government
BELLARY: When several cities and villages across the State have been facing a chronic drinking water shortage, Tirumal Nagar camp, a small settlement with around 1,200 people near Bellary, has decided that self-help is the best help.
Without assistance from the Government, the residents have spent around Rs. 25 lakh towards building water supply infrastructure, contributing Rs. 1,000 per acre of land to a corpus. As a result, they have been able to get piped water supply at their doorstep. In addition, the residents are also supplying drinking water to surrounding villages.
“Like elsewhere, even we were facing severe drinking water problems, especially during the summer when the high-level canal of the Tungabhadra reservoir went dry from January to June every year. To overcome the problem, we all decided to go in for a mini-water supply project of our own. We chose to contribute around Rs. 1,000 an acre for the purchase of land to form a lake, build a pump-shed as well as for laying pipelines. As the decision was taken unanimously, the required amount was pooled in without much difficulty and the work was completed,” says R. Venkatesh, who is in charge of the project.
A lake has been formed on 3.15 acres of land located 1 km away from the camp. An irrigation field channel passing nearby, which gets water from the Tungabhadra, was identified as the source of water. “We are now in a position to augment water supply, which will cater for our drinking water needs for six months till the canals are reopened. Water from the reservoir is pumped once in two days and is supplied for about six hours, covering all lanes. We have been collecting Rs. 500 per tap connection as and when required for maintenance of the project and also for the purchase of diesel to run the motor when there is no electricity,” he told The Hindu.
Mr. Venkatesh said efforts were now being made to seek government help to get a filter bed and a water treatment unit constructed. “We are also seeking annual grants for the regular maintenance of the scheme,” he added.
Basavaraj, a college student from Shankarbanda village, said, “Youngsters, including schoolgirls from neighbouring Shankarbanda village, which is the headquarters of the gram panchayat, and people from a few settlements in the vicinity that face severe drinking water scarcity, come to Tirumal Nagar to collect water regularly. The Tirumal Nagar scheme is worth emulating. However, it is unfortunate that there has been no commitment on the part of leaders and elders in our village to solve the drinking water problem. As a result, we are forced to come here to collect water, covering a distance of 2 km every day.”