As voting for the Lok Sabha polls draws closer, the people in Bundelkhand have started raising their voice against water scarcity in the region. Persistent draught and migration have led the residents to a coin a slogan: 'Gaon-gaon talab banega, tabhi humara vote milega' (Will vote only after getting ponds in ech village). The villagers have formed an outfit 'Jal Jivan Sangathan' to raise the issues.
The Bundelkhand region comprises 14 district of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. Almost all villages in these districts face water crisis in summers. Each election sees political parties promising the people to solve their water woes, but nothing tangible has happened.
The Lok Vigyan Sansthan of Dehradun is running an awareness campaign in Panna district under which village-level committees -- Gram Swaraj Samiti -- have been formed. Members of village panchayats are also members of these committees. Representatives of three panchayats -- Fatepur, Birampura and Bilpura -- have decided to mount pressure on all candidates.
Khilawan Singh, chief of Aloni village committee, said: "We have decided to make it a mass movement to press for our demand. Our aim is to get the ponds rejuvenated through political and administrative action."
The water crisis has affected the lives of women who have to spend hours in arranging water. "Leaders of various parties come here to ask for our vote, but no one does anything," said Tilak Rani, President, Roshani Mahila Mangaldal, Sonmau Kalan.
According to data, Bundelkhand had 10,000 ponds some decades back, but the count has come down to around 2,000.
"This region is suffering from severe water crisis. The rainy season has been reduced to only 25 days. Surprisingly, only 3 per cent of funds meant for Bundelkhand's development have been used for rejuvenating the ponds. That's why the people have launched a campaign," said Seema Ravandale of the Lok Vigyan Sansthan, Dehradun.
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