Rajouri: Although the country is celebrating ‘Amrit Kaal’ of its independence, around 150 inhabitants of Keri – a remote hamlet of border district Rajouri still have to trek kilometres daily to fetch water.
Over 70 years down the line since independence, the tap water supply is still a distant dream for them.
Irked over the administrative apathy towards them, now the villagers, mainly the tribal population, have called for “a boycott of all polls to be held in future” as they believe that the “political representatives of the area have failed them all these years.”
“They (political representatives) could not bring a water supply scheme for us. We have been deprived of the necessity of life. We have to traverse long, treacherous distances to fetch water for our all requirements,” they rue.
Keri village of Khawas tehsil is considered as one of the most backward villages in the border district. Situated along the ridge of treacherous hills in Khawas tehsil, the inhabitants of Ward Number 2 of Keri though mainly blame the political representatives for their “primitive way of life” yet they equally accuse the helmsmen of Jal Shakti Department (earlier Public Health Engineering department) for ignoring them in their scheme of things all these years.
Recently a video of villagers carrying water barrels and other utensils on their shoulders and trekking kilometers has also been shared by the locals to give a glimpse of their, what they call, “life of ancient humans.”
“Can you believe we are living in 21st century when our village is deprived of basic amenities of life? Lack of water supply scheme tops the list of our grievances,” villagers of the area share their grouse.
“This is our daily routine to trek kilometers downhill to fetch water from a natural (water) source (well) and then climb these treacherous heights with water-filled barrels and other utensils on our shoulders,” they rue.
A man from Nowshera, who had come to Keri village to meet his relatives, too could not hide his displeasure over administrative apathy towards the population of this remote area.
“I am shocked how these people live here and survive with no water supply. I will never come to this village. I cannot stay here even if someone offers me a hefty amount to do so. This is the height of apathy,” he shares his disappointment over the sorry state of affairs in the village.
“We will not only boycott all future elections but will also not allow any political leader to visit our village seeking our votes. The political leaders come, get votes and leave. They never bother to address our grievance,” the villagers express their anger.
On being contacted, Executive Engineer Jal Shakti Department of Rajouri division admitted that this area was still uncovered as far as the Water Supply Scheme (WSS) was concerned.
“The area is uncovered at present and shall be provided water supply under Water Supply Scheme Keri,” said Executive Engineer.
“The work stands allotted and shall be taken up on priority,” he added.