Every once in a while I meet people who inspire the soul, I see something that gives true happiness, In this instance, I met two ‘watermen’.
In some god-forsaken village called champajhar in one of the blocks Banspal of Keonjhar district of Odisha, two guys have trekked through hills, through forests, through fire and streams, navigating with the help of local herdsmen and hunters in search of elusive water sources. Their aim is to bring these perennial water sources to the doorsteps of the households living somewhere far downstream. It’s not rocket science (it never will be, in our line of work), it’s a gravity flow based pipe lining system where the altitude difference between the source of the stream and the village would ensure a very high pressure gap that ‘ensures’ fast flow of water.
The toughest part of the project is finding the source and mapping the route to the village households. Rest is all bureaucratic, how we convert it into a project plan, provide funds and implement. We were able to pass through all these steps and make the first of this kind project at champajhar (its not an innovation at all, this project is implemented at many other places, it’s just a copied effort). Around 50 households now have water posts in each of their households.
The villagers use water from a nearby dirt stream, now they get filtered water at their homes. They are happy. Real happy. They never had a hope that something like this will ever happen to them. Now they are hopeful. They asked us to more ‘connections’ so that they can do kitchen farming as well!
Two guys, one a PMRDF fellow and another a spirited worker from an NGO called Pradhan are the ones behind identifying such projects. As I write this post, the same two people along with few others are in another god-forsaken place finding new sources and drafting a project plan. Such an inspiration. I feel ashamed to sit here and wait while they search ‘lifelines’. Hence I thought I should at least let u all know! I have not seen any PMRDF fellow in any other district devoted so much for making a change. This guy does so tireless work day and night, in almost all the important sectors (education, drinking water, housing , nrega etc).
He is an inspiration. I hope he can make a difference to many more families. But such people need help, bureaucratic and procedural. I will try my best to support with both those.
Gravity Flow based Drinking and Irrigation projects will be taken up more seriously at many other places., almost around 40 other sources are identified and work is in progress. I hope to complete all of them and come back with many stories, soon. Though it’s a pity that we still find it ‘great’ to just provide drinking water, yet it’s the reality for many families in the place we live in.
P.S. Not many of you must have known what is a PMRDF fellow. It’s a scheme started some four years ago and worth understanding. Please go through it at http://pmrdfs.tiss.edu/ . I encourage all of you to give it a try, before any govt. decides to shut it down. It’s one of those opportunities where one can find an answer to the passion : “I want to do something for my country”.