Songadh (Gujarat): With elections approaching and all political parties making big promises in their election manifestos, there exists a village in Songadh district where people still have to walk for kilometers to fetch clean drinking water.
Mal village in Songadh near Ukai dam is facing acute water scarcity. Villagers, despite having a dam in their own district, are still dependent on water tanks and government hand pumps for their everyday needs.
People of Mal village of Songadh nearly 30km from Ukai dam waited so long to have a borewell up to 700ft depth, which is now being drilled.
Last year, people of Mal village had boycotted the state assembly election for the demand of road so that water tankers can reach to their village. As of now, they have an under construction road and people have sent a notice to District collector again, threatening to boycott Lok Sabha elections if road work isn’t completed. There are 434 voters in the village.
Outlining the intensity of the problem, a local resident told ANI, “there is no road connectivity for water tankers to reach here. We walk around 4 km daily to nearest hand pump to collect water”.
Martha ben, a resident of the village, said, “We have to wake up at four in the morning to fetch water from government handpump. Water comes once in a day so we have to queue up for it. It is very problematic in summers because on some days there is no water”.
Another villager Amit Bhai Gamit said, “There was no road since independence, we had to boycott election last year. We will do it again if road work does not complete”.
“We start queuing up outside handpump at 3-4 am so that water can be collected for the morning meal. This 700ft borewell is hope for all of us. We will not have a water problem if this started. Earlier we had 300ft borewell but that failed”, said Junaid Gamit, another villager.
As per locals, there are many other villages also who had given their land for the construction of the Ukai dam so that the country can develop but now they are struggling to find water for themselves.
Polling for the 26 Lok Sabha seats at stake in Gujarat will be held on April 23, and counting of votes will take place on May 23.