30 widows will operate the tractor-driven tankers
in two villages
The supply likely
to start before
NAGAPATTINAM: Abhirami and 29 other widows at Keechankuppam and Akkaraipettai, fishermen villages, are set to turn benefactors of their communities when the long-delayed scheme to provide water in tankers is implemented.
The 30 women, organised into two community development groups (CDG) by the Indian Red Cross Society, will operate the tractor-driven tankers in their villages. After meeting the operational and maintenance expenses, they will use extra income, if any, from the water, for their own needs.
“The groundwater here is salty and is not potable. The municipal water supply is also not reliable. So we used to get water from either Poravacherry (5 km away) or the water-purifying unit an NGO built for us. That cost us Rs. 4.50 a vessel (18-20 litres),” says Saraswathi, who heads the Federation of Self-Help Groups in Keechankuppam.
The women can easily make profits by selling water from the more than 6,000-litre capacity tanker at a lower price, she reckons.
Abhirami, who is the head of the Mahakaliamman CDG, is enthusiastic about the economic and the social benefit of the scheme.
“We will earn enough from it and maintain ourselves. We don’t need to depend on others.”
However, the project funded by the Canadian Red Cross has run into delays.
First, there was a problem with the Road Transport Office (RTO), which did not allow for separate registration of the tanker and the tractor. “We wanted to register them separately and in the name of the groups for insurance purposes. But the RTO authorities did not allow it. Now we have all the necessary documentation done,” says D. Manivannan, Field Project Officer, IRCS.
But the tankers themselves are not ready; they have gone to Mayiladuthurai for body works, Mr. Manivannan says. Though the keys to the tractors were given by the Collector to the CDGs on September 4, the vendors are delaying delivery, citing frequent power cuts, Mr. Manivannan says. He is sure the tankers will be ready in the next couple of days and the supply can start before the weekend.
When the supply does start, the widows could get livelihood support, and the community good drinking water.