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Where's my water? - A Lesson on Unity

Faced with a recurring and unending water problem, the residents of Pathan ni chaali finally came to a solution that has taught us all a lot.

We talked to Pooja and Deepti, two 12th graders living in the chaali, about their journey to finally resolving the issue. “Initially, the flow of water was extremely slow. It would either not come at all, or it would come in drops,” said Pooja, who along with Deepti, conducts tuition classes for children who were unable to attend school due to the lockdown. The water dearth persists in almost every chaali in Shahpur. “We had no option but to buy water from other sources for our regular use in the kitchen, and even for hygienic purposes,” added Deepti.

Some members of the chaali wrote to the Water Department to address this issue, and although they were told that authorities will look into the situation, nothing happened. Despite approaching them several times to follow up on their application, they were not met with an affirmative response.

Saath, an NGO that promotes participation of the people in their local issues, involved themselves in the application process to accelerate it. The idea that collective action can make a huge difference in bringing about the change people need, motivated the residents of the chaali to approach the authorities as one homogenous unit. With the help of Saath’s field officers, the locals also grasped the nuances of interacting with government officials, and the procedure of drafting any application to address and bring to light their grievances. This made them confident about the possibility of getting their issues resolved. Pooja’s grandmother, one among many who went to apply for their water issue, also reinforces the importance of unifying voices to wake the system up.

Now, the people of Pathan ni chaali are optimistic about approaching the authorities with their grievances. Unlike many other chaalis in Shahpur, Pathan nichaali’s residents are equipped enough to take the first step. They see this as a win, and now that the water issue has been resolved after seven months, their focus is on drainage.

-Written by: Nandini Jiva

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