Siraha, May 28
People from the Musahar community have been compelled to drink contaminated water from the local Bataha Khola for want of drinking water supply in Mirchaiya Municipality, Siraha.
As many as 60 Musahar families live in the area some 500 metres away from the East-West Highway in the district.
They have been using water from the khola for drinking and other purposes for decades.
A local, Ram Babu Sada, 35, said they were facing various health issues due to the contaminated water.
Seventy-year-old Biltu Musahar of the settlement said no one had heeded their problems. “We have no other option but to drink contaminated water,” he added.
Another local, Aasha Devi Sada, 55, said 12 persons had lost their lives due water-borne diseases six years ago. “Diarrhoea and skin related problems are very common in our community,” she added. She also said no local representative had visited their settlement after the last elections.
A local, Ram Narayan Musahar, said that they faced more problems during rainy season as the river water got polluted due to floods. He added that the local government had turned a blind eye to their problems. “Since no one is concerned about our problems, we are compelled to drink unsafe water, ” he bemoaned.
Leader of the community Biltu Musahar said they had been used as a vote bank of the Dalit leaders. “We are even deprived of basic facilities given by the government. All of us have been living in unregistered lands and working as daily wagers for survival,” said Biltu.
Meanwhile, Ward 9 Chair of Mirchaiya Municipality Mohan Pokhrel said they could not resolve the drinking water problem in the Musahar community due to limited budget. But when Mayor Shrawan Kumar Yadav was asked about the drinking water woes of the Musahar community, he said the ward chair had not proposed any plan for providing drinking water to the Musahar community. “We will soon try to address their problems,” he said.
A version of this article appears in print on May 29, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.