Marooned by rains for 20 yrs, they can’t take it any more - Mandi Gobindgarh News

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Saturday, July 13, 2019

Marooned by rains for 20 yrs, they can’t take it any more


Marooned by rains for 20 yrs, they can’t take it any more

Ravi Dhaliwal

Tribune News Service

Khojepur (Gurdaspur), July 12

Nearly 1,600 residents of Khojepur village have been living in appalling conditions for the past two decades, surrounded by pools of stagnant water. They have now invited Member of Parliament Sunny Deol and Deputy Commissioner Vipul Ujwal to spend a night in the village and drink water from hand pumps so has to understand their suffering.

On June 24, The Tribune had highlighted the inhuman conditions in the village. Subsequently, officials came rushing with video cameras, prepared reports and then went into hibernation.

In the absence of any outlet, each time it rains, water accumulates in each of the 400 houses in the village. It has been the same story for 20 years. Hand pumps spew contaminated water, causing disease. Water samples, collected regularly by the administration, invariably fail. Reports are filed and then it is back to square one.

“All outlets are controlled by upper caste residents.These are deliberately closed during rains, forcing the water into our houses. Here is not a single man, woman or child who has not been taken to hospital for treatment,” claims Kamal Kumar.

Disappointed with officials, the villagers have now placed hope in their MP. Deol’s representative Gurpreet Singh Palheri says he a representation by villagers has been sent to the MP. Residents say sitting MP and Cabinet Minister Aruna Chaudhary has done nothing tangible to solve their problem.

“The elderly and children cannot step out of their homes. We are totally isolated,” says sarpanch Jyoti Bala. According to the DC, a report on how to drain out water is ready. “The DDPO has the details.” The villagers are not impressed. “Officials have the knack of pulling the wool over our eyes. Let the MP come and stay with us,” says Bala.

“Two reputed institutions — the Institute of Hotel Management, Nutrition and Catering and Beant College of Engineering — are located barely 500 metres away. While these have access to ROs, potable drinking water is a luxury for us,” observes local resident Anil Kumar.

Deluge of woes

  • In the absence of any outlet, each time it rains, water accumulates in each of the 400 houses in Khojepur village. It has been the same story for 20 years. 
  • Hand pumps spew contaminated water, causing disease. Water samples, collected regularly by the administration, invariably fail the quality test. Reports are filed and then it is back to square one.

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