Nepal | December 05, 2019

THT 10 years ago: Dalits denied access to drinking water

Himalayan News Service

Rajbiraj, February 25, 2009

Dalits in Khadgapur VDC of Saptari district have been compelled to use water from a nearby pond after the people of the so-called upper castes did not allow them to use tube-wells. “We are not allowed to touch the tube-well. People from upper castes get water first. We have to wait, at times for hours,” a local MukthiMarik said. Not only Mukthi, other Dalits in the village are also facing similar discrimination. “We have been using water from the pond for drinking purpose for years,” Mukthi said. He added that the Dalits were also deprived of drawing water from the wells in the village. Seven families of Dom, a so-called lower caste, had to leave the village due to the unavailability of drinking water three years ago, he added. The Dalits in the village have been facing difficulties, as they don’t have their own land. They eke out a living by selling bamboo products. UrmilaMarik said the Dalits didn’t have enough money to dig a separate tube-well. “Though there are many non-government organisations working for the cause of Dalits, none has approached us so far.” SushilYadav of Khadgapur said untouchabililty was still being practiced in the area. CDO of Saptari district Ram Bilas Raya said, “Barring anyone access to water from the public tap is a crime.”

Project aims optimum use of water resources in Koshi river basin

Kathmandu, February 25, 2009

The Water and Energy Commission Secretariat (WECS), with the support of World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Nepal, today launched Koshi River Basin Management Project (KRBMP) to ensure optimum use of Koshi basin’s water and other resources to promote socio-economic development of the people and maintain ecological balance in the area. Addressing the ceremony organised to launch the project here today, experts highlighted the need for an integrated water management strategy to make optimum use of the water resources. “Koshiriver has the second largest potential for hydropower generation in the country. Therefore, if we don’t act wisely, it may take Nepal backward,” Anil Manandhar, country representative of WWF Nepal, said. He also sought the need of a holistic approach to develop a sustainable Nepal through the proper management of water resources. “Water management is important for livelihood not only today. It should be managed well for the future as well.” Acting secretary of WECS IshworThapa also underscored the need for an effective coordination between government mechanism and its stakeholders for integrated water resource management. The Koshi River basin within the Nepali territory extends from the Himalayan range, including southern slope of Mt Everest to the Nepal-India border, covering 17 districts.

A version of this article appears in print on February 26, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.

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