Budgam, Feb 17: Holding aluminum utensils, a group of women are gathered by a stream in Russu village of central Kashmir’s Budgam district to collect water for drinking and domestic purposes.
Running along the roadside, water flows with minimum velocity through a common supply pipe, filling lined up buckets and containers at a snail’s pace.
As women leave with their buckets filled up-to brim, Zamrooda Begum, a partially blind woman collects water in a bowl and pours it in her dented silver and black pot which is too big to fit under the supply pipe directly.
With daily visits here, Begum’s sixth sense is developed enough for the task. “Practice makes me perfect,” she laments.
But fetching water for survival came with a cost, Begum, who must be in her sixties, says, she has now met over a couple of accidents while performing the chore. “The recovery cost me more than Rs 2000,” keeping her head pressed to her chest, she recalls.
Be it summers or winters, the lack of tap water at homes necessitates the arduous task for the women folk, who collectively demand water connections for their homes, “and nothing else.”
While the administration asserts that every household in J&K will have tap-water connection by June this year, women here remain hopeless about the timeframe, saying “Even after our unceasing requests to the authorities regarding the matter, not a single step has been taken to end our miseries.”
The water supply scheme as per the Jal Shakti department's executive engineer Shakeel Rahman "is in the final stage and shall be commissioned during the current fiscal year", that, Rahman said, "will end the water woes for the local residents."