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“To Fetch a Pail of Water”

By: Mukesh Dubey: Senior Manager, Communication and Resource Mobilisation

 

Picture1A report, presented by the Government of India in Rajya Sabha, states that there are 266 districts in as many as 11 states affected by the drought. The report highlights Odisha as one the most affected states with 90% of districts reeling under severe drought stress.

 


 

Water for me is a privilege. I can get it from a refrigerator nearby or from a purifier. I can also afford to buy it. It is a privilege. And it is for many of us.

 

But for Shanti Lata Behra water means survival. For her and her community it is a struggle of more than four hours. Twice a day.

 

Badasahi is a village on the edge of Lake Chilika in Ganjam district in Odisha. Its only source of potable water is a government supply which comes once in 15 days. For the rest of the days people, mostly women, have to walk quite a distance crossing an unmanned railway gate to fetch water. They have to wait for their turn and once the upper castes women leave, they begin to fill their utensils. This photo blog captures their daily struggles.

 

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An old woman carrying water in an aluminum pot. She walks everyday more than a kilometer to fetch water for her home.


 

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The only source of water for Badasahi Village. Women say they feel lucky when the supply comes as they don’t have to go across the railway crossing.


 

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They come early in the morning with all their utensils and wait for their turn. One by one these women get down in the pit and patiently wait for utensils to get filled.


 

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“We dug this pit. This was the only way to get whatever water we can through government supply.” Says a woman.


 

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A young girl patiently watches as the water fills the utensil drop by drop.


 

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It takes hours to get one’s supply filled. Out in the scorching heat women even can’t take break fearing the water will be spilled.


 

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On most days when supply water does not come they cross this railway track to get water.


 

 

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A boy pushes his bicycle over the track. This unmanned railway crossing is extremely busy and dangerous. It connects Bhubaneshwar in the north to Visakhapatnam in South.