WATER WOES | Bhaderwah village residents break pitchers, warn of hunger strike

The residents of Sartingal Panchayat in Bhaderwah Tuesday broke their pitchers while taking to streets to protest against the water crisis in the area.

The villagers, mostly women, gathered on the Sartingal-Chamba road, 5 km from Bhaderwah town, and blocked it to protest against the non-availability of potable water supply to the area for over a month now.

Raising slogans against the Jal Shakti department for allegedly ignoring their repeated pleas to resolve the water crisis in the area, the protesters alleged that the negligence of the authorities had forced them to come on roads.

Articulating anger against the acute drinking water scarcity, the protesters broke pitchers on the road.

“The Jal Shakti department is apathetic towards the villagers,” the female protestors said and warned the administration that if water crisis in the area was not resolved in a day or two, the villagers, along with their children, would go on a hunger strike.

“We are running out of patience as we have to fetch water in this spine-chilling cold,” said Shabnam, 46, of upper Sartingal.

“The government is claiming of providing safe drinking water to every soul under the ‘Jal Shakti Abhiyan’ and propagating to be part of the ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’ but people are even being denied potable water for months at a stretch,” said Yog Raj Manhas, 66, of Sartingal.

ADC Bhaderwah, Rakesh Kumar said, “I sent a team there immediately and will also visit personally as the issue raised by the villagers is of a serious nature.”

Promising to restore water supply to Sartingal Panchayat at the earliest, he said action would be taken against any official of the Jal Shakti department found guilty of dereliction of duty.