A young man from drought-hit Junnar in Maharashtra is quenching the thirst of area residents with his own resources.
Several major rivers like Ganga, Godavari, Krishna and Netravati have been reduced to a trickle this summer. Groundwater levels are at a record low. Hand pumps have dried up completely in many places. The number of people impacted by this water scarcity and the intensity of the impact are huge. This is only the fourth time in a century that there has been a back-to-back drought in India.
According to recent reports by Groundwater Surveys and Development Agency (GSDA) Maharashtra is the most affected state. The government has been trying its level best to provide drinking water to people with water tankers. Recently, a special train carrying around 5 lakh litres of water was also sent to parched Latur in Marathawad, which is battling the worst drought ever.
Junnar in Pune district of Maharashtra is another city that is badly affected.
People here used to mainly rely on hand pumps for drinking water but even those have dried up now. The municipality supplies water only once a month to different localities in the city.
Shrikant Jadhav, a young resident of Junnar, has been observing the severe problem poor people in the area face due to lack of drinking water.
“I see the rich people getting drinking water cans – this solves their problem. But the poor cannot even afford water these days,” he says.
Shrikant has a small mobile phone repairing shop in Junnar. His limited resources prevent him from taking any major steps to alleviate this problem. So he has approached a distributor called Matoshri in Junnar from whom he buys water cans at Rs. 35 each. Shrikant now distributes water at places where he sees people standing in long queues in front of virtually dry hand pumps. He pours the water from the cans in the empty buckets the people are holding and goes back to the distributor for refills.
Shrikant has spent Rs. 17,000 from his own pocket on this effort so far and distributed 20,000 litres of water.
Shrikant distributes water every day in the Pansumbapeth, Shukrawarpeth and Kumbhar Gali areas of Junnar. He now calls his initiative Parivartan Helpline Sewa.
His number is displayed on the card that he distributes in slum areas; the card says, “If you are struggling for drinking water then just make one call to get free drinking water.”
Shrikant’s family has now started supporting him in his venture.
“We all earn money but the satisfaction that you get on spending your earnings to help the distressed and seeing them happy is unmatchable,” says Shrikant.
Please call Shrikant on 8055551616 for more information.