India is one of the largest democracies in the world. There are multiple tools available that let citizens take charge by participating in decision-making and challenging corrupt and arbitrary actions at all levels. One of the simplest is to file applications on issues to the relevant authority and follow up with RTIs to reach a resolution.
The SC Residential Ashram School run by the Social Welfare Ministry, Maharashtra, in Mohida, Block Shahada, Dist. Nandurbar had an issue with drinking water. The school faced scarcity of drinking water in their premises. Though it has a tube well, the groundwater in the location is all hard water and needs to be put into water filters before drinking it. The water filters had not been in working condition for a few months.
The citizenship program conducted by We, The People gave the school students the opportunity to work and resolve this problem. They carefully read all the relevant politics and Acts to understand the whole problem and the approach to its resolution in depth. Through their research, they realized that this was a direct violation of Article 21 (Right to Life) of the Constitution of India.
Immediately, the students submitted an application to the Grampanchayat of Mohida asking for a separate waterline for drinking water.
The Sarpanch and other Grampanchayat members interacted with the students and showed them the correspondence between the Grampanchayat and other government offices, demanding appropriate sources for drinking water to villagers. The whole village currently relies on hard water that is available to them through tube wells.
The students could not see an immediate permanent solution to their issue. Hence, they held a meeting with the warden and school principal asking for repair works on the water filters. The two water filters had been closed for a long time. Taking cognizance of the students’ application, school authorities repaired the water filters and put them to use again. The Grampanchayat has now asked the Ashram School to support their effort to fetch drinkable water sources to the village.
This exercise solved the water issue and also increased the students’ belief in democracy working with participation. The school students are now confident of working on any civic issues in their village. They also believe they can help the villagers realize the importance of participatory democracy.
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