Water crisis prompts exodus

Gaighat, March 1

As the water crisis worsens in Udayapur district, villagers from Chaudandi VDC are leaving their homes for other places.

Wards 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 of the VDC have been facing acute shortage of drinking water and more than 60 households have already migrated in the last four years.

“We are compelled to leave our village due to water shortage. The government has not even listened to our problems,” said Kriti Tamang from Chaudandi VDC. The 70-year-old added that 150 households have left their hometowns as they had to walk three hours every day to reach the nearest water source.

Rajan Adhikari, VDC secretary, said that of the 4,423 people of the VDC, one-third of the population did not have access to proper drinking water.

“There has been no economic prosperity or agricultural growth in these villages due to lack of water,” he added. Adhikari said that fertile lands which used to grow ginger, turmeric and other seasonal crops have turned barren. He pointed out that drinking water projects could not be run as there was no water source. “The projects have to be run from the central level rather than VDC, DDC and others,” said the official.

“There are no water sources and no small investment can change the current crisis. There needs to be a bigger plan and action,” said Engineer Satya Narayan Sha of District Drinking Water and Sanitation Division Office. Sha informed that preparation to carry out a survey was under way to operate a project from Bopung, Khotang.