Bardibas villagers suffer from drinking water shortage
Every day, Mina Pokharel, a resident of Bhapsi Ratmate in Ward No. 3 of Bardibas Municipality, Mahottari, spends three hours to bring home a vessel of water. According to her, 20 households in her neighbourhood rely on the communal water tap to meet their needs.
“We get water in the tap every 15 days and it takes at least two hours to fill one vessel,” said Pokharel. “Some days, the tap goes dry even before we get a chance to fill our buckets.”
Around 400 families in Ratmate, Bastipur and Raimandal villages in Ward No. 3 of Bardibas have been facing similar problems for the last five decades. They go to the neighbouring villages of Atappe Gaun and Bardanda, among others, in search of water.
“We bring water from other villages in winter and summer. In monsoon, we use floodwaters for drinking purposes,” said Suka Bahadur Majhi, a resident of Ratmate.
Bishnu Thapa, a local resident of Bastipur Tol, complained that the authorities and people’s representatives have not addressed their water shortage problem despite multiple requests.
“In the dry season, we have to walk to Palla Gaun to fetch a vessel of water. It takes at least three hours to reach Palla Gaun from Bastipur Tol but we have no other source of water nearby,” said Thapa.
Five years ago, the local residents had launched the Bhapsi Drinking Water Project under which a tap was installed in each house of the area. The project is nearing its deadline in the running fiscal year but there has been no progress so far, say villagers.
“Water pipes were installed near the spring area only. The construction work of the project has not gained momentum for the last two years,” said Bijaya Pokharel, a resident of Ward No. 3 in Bardibas.
Tara Bahadur Pulami, chairman of Bhapsi Drinking Water and Sanitation Consumers Committee, says the delay was caused because the Drinking Water and Sanitation Division Office in Mahottari has not released a budget for the continuation of the project.
“We have been requesting the division office for budget allocation but nothing has been done yet,” he said. “The local residents had also put in a request with the division office but their calls went unheard.”
The total cost of the project is Rs 30 million. So far, only the main supply pipes have been installed in the water spring area. According to the project officials, they have to construct a water tank and install pipes and taps in each house of the village.
However, officials at the Drinking Water and Sanitation Division Office in Mahottari claim that despite the delays, the construction of the drinking water project will be completed within this current fiscal year.
“The construction work has not moved forward, as the project did not receive a budget in the running fiscal year. But we plan to supply water in Ward No. 3 this year. We intend to complete the project this year,” said Surendra Sharma, chief at the office.