Pitiable plight of Pulwama village women

Shakeela, 35, of Kowsibagh village in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district wakes up at 5 am every day.

After preparing breakfast for her family, she carries two buckets in her hands and comes out of her home.

She is soon joined by many other women of her village.

Together they dash towards the neighbouring Badibgah village, a kilometer away, to fetch drinking water for their families.

“It has been our daily routine for the past many years,” Shakeela said.

Another woman of the village said sometimes the residents of the neighbouring Badibgah object to their ferrying water from their village.

Pointing at the bundle of unwashed clothes, she said they wash their clothes after many weeks.

The water taps in Kowsibagh, comprising nearly 70 families, are running dry for the past seven years.

According to the residents, the authorities laid water pipes in the village many years ago but did not supply water.

“We have never seen water flowing through these pipes and now these pipes are rusting away,” said Abdul Ahad Hajam, a local.

Hajam said they many times brought the issue to the notice of authorities but to no avail.

Many residents said that the villagers were forced to drink contaminated water of streams and tube-wells which exposed them to various health hazards.

“Elderly people and children of the village have been complaining of gastrointestinal issues due to consumption of contaminated water,” said Muhammad Ashraf Mir, Numberdar of the village.

Mir said the authorities supplied water from a nearby Bulbul Nag spring to various far-off places but ignored the village.

“We are unable to understand this indifferent attitude of the authorities towards our locality,” he said.

Assistant Executive Engineer, Public Health Engineering (PHE) department, Pulwama, Ishfaq Hameed said that the village would be covered soon under the Jal Jeevan Mission programme.

“We have already taken up the tendering process and work will be executed very soon,” he said.

Hameed said three tube-well pumps had also been installed in the village recently.