Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Water scarcity forces indigenous tribes to dig riverbeds in India

Economic Times (India): Intense heat wave conditions and declining water levels are spelling a hard time for Oriya tribals [in the Indian state of Orissa]. The state's Kalahandi district is reeling from water scarcity, so much so that tribals have been digging up the riverbed to access water to meet their daily requirements.

Residents call this process of digging up a hole in the dry riverbed as ' Chahala '. It has become common in the district that faces acute water shortage during the summer every year.

A small river passes through the region surrounded by hills and forests. Residents say they are wholly dependent on it to fulfill their water requirements, and during the summers, when the river dries up, they are left with no other option but to dig up the riverbed.

"This is the only source of water we are dependent on. It takes two hours to fetch water once. We are suffering from disease due to the drinking of unsafe water. We come here to get water four or five times in a day," said Ujala Guria, a villager. They accuse that the local administration of being indifferent, but the State Government says measures are being taken to provide drinking water.

The map shows the location of the state of Orissa in India, "Planemad," Wikimedia Commons, under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation license, Version 1.2

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