Residents in Punjab forced to buy water

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Shergarh, June 14 : Shortage of water in Shergarh village in Punjab has forced the residents to buy water from Rajasthan. People are facing water problem for more than six months. Their fields are parched and they are forced to purchase drinking water. Women are buying water at the rate of 10 rupees per earthen vessel, which is quite exorbitant by village standards.

"We are not getting water for the last six months, so I am trying to help the local by carrying the water all the way from Rajasthan to our village. I sell one earthen vessel for Rs 10. I am doing this for the last six months itself," said Jogender Singh, a water seller.

The affected farmers have organised themselves and have set up the Farmers' Struggle Committee to secure their water rights.

"We are not even getting ground water. If we don't get our right, we will also protest like farmers in Gharsana and Gujjars in Rajasthan. We are planning to launch a large-scale protest, the responsibility of which lies with the government and administration," said Vijay Singh, President, Farmers' Struggle Committee.

However, the authorities say that problem has been due to delay in cleaning of the canals because of the declaration of village council polls.

"The problem of water shortage particularly in Shergarh and Viram Khera villages took a drastic turn because the canals have not being cleaned as the elections were declared in between. Though we received funds, but couldn't be utilized because of the polls," said N.S Brar, Sub-Divisional Officer, Abohar.

Voting for elections to over 11,000 village councils in Punjab took place on May 26.

The people of Shergarh village hope that with the completion of village council polls the authorities would get them out of the water woes sooner than later.

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