Annual drying up of ponds in Uttar Pradesh's part of the Bundelkhand is an annual feature; a faint hope lies in the river Ken whose much narrowed flow brings small succour. Not this year, as the Ken's riverbed has been disemboweled, its sand scooped out by the unscrupulous. Result: hundreds of people have no source of water and their anger has spilled out on roads.
The state administration woke up only after former state Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav raised the issue on Twitter and Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra retweeted it.
People say the sand mafia has has destroyed the flow of water and ended the river stream.
"Around 43 km stretch has been cleared between Naseni village to Hateti Purwa with the help of JCB machines. We are also removing illegal farming from the banks of the Ken," said Awadesh Kumar Nigam, Tahsildar, Banda Sadar tehsil.
This has led to yet another problem. The boatmen who grew seasonal vegetables along the banks have been robbed of their livelihood. "After the vegetable crop was destroyed, some farmers clashed with officials. The police brought the situation under control," said Nigam.
Additional Collector (Finance and Tax) Santosh Bahadur Singh said: "We are clearing the way for the Ken so that drinking water is made available to the people. There is not harassment."
"Plagued with the illegal sand mining, Banda is struggling for every drop of water and state's BJP government has been sitting with its eyes shut," Akhilesh Yadav has said.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)