PROVIDING SUCCOUR TO WATER-STARVED VILLAGERS
"Had it not
been for the special trains that bring water, it would have been
impossible to survive in this year’s drought" says Shankar
of village Naraina.
Shankar is one of
the residents of Naraina, near Phulera station in Rajasthan, who
wait eagerly for the water special train that reaches there once
in two days to provide them water. Most of the wells in the region
have dried up and whatever little water that comes out of the
hand pumps is unfit even for the animals to drink. The ground
water level has plummeted steeply and the water brought by the
special wagons is the only source of living for these water-starved
are echoed by Goverdhan Jat, the milk seller, and Lalchand, a
construction worker in Naraina. The situation is grim and without
water, rearing of cattle has become very difficult for the milk
always been under the shadow of drought due to its geographical
characteristics. The average rainfall is very low and this time
the situation is more serious because of the continuous drought
for five years.
have been pooled in to provide relief to the drought-hit people.
The responsibility for drought management like other natural calamities
rests with the State governments. The Centre helps the States
in carrying out relief operations through financial assistance,
foodgrains and logistical support.
The noble services
for a social cause provided by the Indian Railways by running
the water special trains has come as a blessing for the water-starved
villages in the drought-hit areas. The railways in Rajasthan runs
seven broad-guage and four metre-guage rakes everyday to supply
the nectar of life to nearly 11 lakh people.
On an average
the railway loads up to 650 wagons daily and carries 1.25 crore
kilolitres of water.
On the broad-gauge,
the water is loaded at Bhagat Ki-Kothi and Jawai Bandh in Rajasthan
and taken to Pali, Sojat Road, Bomadra and Khemli. So far a total
of 1,336 rakes have been loaded from these two places. In the
metre-guage section, water loading is done at Nasirabad and is
carried to Bhilwara, Girwala, Marwar, Naraina, Pili-ka-Bas, Falna
and Charbhuja. So far, 557 rakes of water special have been loaded
at Nasirabad. The railways has been transporting water free-of-cost
on the State Government’s request. The water specials were initially
planned to be run till June 2003. But on the State government’s
request the service will continue until July.
from : Pragya Paliwal Gaur, Information Officer, PIB, Jaipur
: Ramesh Lal Meena, Information Assistant, PIB, Jaipur