Most children especially girls from the Malnathpur village in Parli, Beed are braving the scorching sun everyday for survival. Their lives should ideally involve usual activities like playing with friends and studies, but the villages they come from present them with a daunting challenge of walking long distances just to get potable water. On many days they travel 3 Kms on foot to collect water that barely meets requirement of their families. The worrying part is that the situation in Malnathpur is not an exception. Almost entire Parli tehsil consisting of 105 villages goes through this difficulty every year. Distressed farmers even go to the extreme step of committing suicide.
After years of waiting in hope for local authorities to address the issue, the villagers along with Mission Global Parli have started work on sustainable solutions for water conservation and preservation on their own. Mayank Gandhi, a developmental activist has adopted 15 villages in the region. Out of these 15 villages, 10 villages and 2 Tandas (community of lower cast) have taken up the Water Cup initiative to tackle the problem of water shortage.
Mayank Gandhi said, “Summer is already here and we need to prepare infrastructure and take best advantage of the coming monsoon. In these areas the monsoon comes around end of August and lasts till about mid-October. It is important for us to complete these structures before monsoon and we are expecting more voluntary labour (Shramdaan) and corporate funding coming our way to hire machinery to help us achieve our goal. Water is one of the very basic human rights yet it is a struggle to find it in these parts. We have a long term goal of turning this cluster of 15 villages into global villages and showcase them as examples of development and progress on the vast rural landscape of India.”
In Parli taluka, Global Parli Mission with the help of voluntary labour from the villagers, along with earth moving machinery are building water shade structures for soil and water conservation. Daily men-and-machines are battling the forces of nature to create multiple structures to ensure that rainwater does not flow off and gets stored in each of the villages.
The increased effectiveness of water storage will enhance crop yields and make villages tanker-free during the cruel summer months. Structures like soak pits, farm ponds, check dams and trenches will augment the water table and provide long term water security. This will save the cost of 1.44 Lakh water tankers annually, over a minimum period of 20 years. Parli is one of the worst affected areas in India with an overall irrigated area of only 1.72% compared to the national average of 40%.
Even corporates like UPL, Borosil & Alkem are pioneering this cause and more companies are expected to join the effort.