Skip to main content
xYOU DESERVE INDEPENDENT, CRITICAL MEDIA. We want readers like you. Support independent critical media.

GROUND REPORT: We Don’t Get Water For Weeks, Say People in HP’s Banjar Assembly Segment

BJP and Congress have made a bundle of promises in their respective manifestos, but the people of the hill state are still craving drinking water, while the public health system is also on ventilator.

From the Prime Minister to the Home Minister, these days top Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders are campaigning for party candidates in the hills of Himachal Pradesh.  A string of promises are being made. Their helicopters land on big grounds of cities on the hills, and they go back after giving speeches, but do not even glance at some of the villages where people are craving for basic amenities, like clean drinking water.

The Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, which is being ruled by BJP, along with the Central government had planned to provide 100% water in the rural areas by August 2022, but today people are still craving for drinking water.

People living on the higher reaches are forced to go downstream to fetch water. There are taps in many villages but those are dry. The pipes for water connection have been laid, spreading  several kilometers away. As a result, it takes several week to even locate any fault in the pipeline.

To find out more about the water problems, NewsClick traveled to Banjar Assembly seat in Kullu district, adjacent to Siraj Assembly seat from where Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur is the MLA. Despite this, what is the situation there?

Talking to NewsClick, Block Congress Committee General Secretary Dur Singh Thakur said that Shikari Ghat Panchayat is within the Banjar segment. In 1997, it was declared drought-hit, since then till date, the water problem continues.

The supply of water in Shikari Ghat comes from far below, about 15 km away. Meanwhile, many settlements come up in the area, but there is no proper water supply in any of these settlements. The last three to four settlements have always been deprived of drinking water, he said.

He said the BJP government has been claiming ‘ Har Ghar Nal’ (water taps in each house), but every house doesn’t have a tap, especially in Banjar.

Tarsem, the deputy village head of Shikari Ghat, said no one heeded the villagers’ problems. “Water is the main problem, there is no drinking water in Shikari Ghat. After our complaint, our MLA assured us that we will get water. He did arrange for water, but then it is back to square one now. There is no drinking water for the past one month.”

Tarsem complained that when they approach the water department people or call them, “they do not listen to us….Due to lack of water, the maximum problems are being faced by women, be it going to the toilet in the morning or cooking food during the day or at night. There is no water in the house. Modiji says ‘build toilets’, but what is the point if there is no water.”

We met many villagers who were very vocal about their problems. They said there was no water for defecation, cooking, and even for drinking. But, when asked to speak in front of the camera, many of them declined. They were scared to take the name of the local MLA. Incidentally, the area MLA is BJP's Surendra Shourie.

Not just water, if anyone has any health-related problem in Shourie's Assembly constituency, then they have to travel 200 km to Kullu for treatment.

Yes, there is one hospital in the area, but it is still awaiting inauguration. A local resident Satish Kumar Rana told us that foundation stone of the hospital was laid by former Health Minister Kaur Singh Thakur, which has not been completed till date.  Despite this Assembly constituency of sitting MLA Shourie and Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur’s constituency being intertwined, the hospital is still not complete and functional.

Kumar said health services in the area are bad. There is no machinery of any kind here, no doctor of any kind. If at all, a doctor some times comes for two days and then leaves. “When Shourieji became MLA, he had said that within five years you this entire hospital would be ready, but even today its condition remains the same.”

Notably, expressing confidence in its sitting MLA Surendra Shourie, the BJP has once again fielded him in the upcoming Assembly election. On other side, the Congress has declared veteran BJP leader and former MLA Khimi Ram as its candidate, while the Aam Aadmi Party has declared Neeraj Saini as its candidate. The three-cornered contest is being considered very tough by local residents.

(Translated from Hindi)

Get the latest reports & analysis with people's perspective on Protests, movements & deep analytical videos, discussions of the current affairs in your Telegram app. Subscribe to NewsClick's Telegram channel & get Real-Time updates on stories, as they get published on our website.

Subscribe Newsclick On Telegram