Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh is in the grip of acute water crisis as summer heat gets scorching.
The activists of the youth wing of the opposition Congress party in the state staged a protest in the city holding empty earthen water pitchers and demanded supply of safe drinking water.
The shortage of water during the summer months is a perennial problem in several regions of Madhya Pradesh with the rapidly falling water table and growing population adding to the state's water woes.
"There is immense water scarcity and we are facing a lot of problems. We need water after every two to three days but find it hard to get it. This even leads to clashes and fights among us. If a tanker comes regularly, then there won't be so much problem," said Bhagwandas Gupta, a resident.
But local authorities responsible for supplying potable water are extremely hard pressed due to resource constraint.
"For the past eight days, I am coming here at 10 a.m. and leave by 11 p.m. I am sending a tanker and doing every possible thing but still the arrangement is just not fine here. Officials do call me regularly but what can I do? I have only two tankers and they want water equivalent to 40 tankers," lamented Ved Prakash Pal, an employee of Public Health Engineering Department.
A steep fall in the ground water level has been reported in a number of wells. Authorities rule out possibility of new tube wells.
"Current water level is going down which has led to various problems. We are trying to provide water through tankers. But we have to acknowledge the fact that tube wells will no longer be able to pump out water due to low water table in the city," observed Vivek Narayan Shejwalkar, Mayor of Gwalior.
"The water table is decreasing fast and tube wells are also drying up. In such a situation, we can provide water only through tankers and if people co-operate with each other, then I believe the problem could be solved to great extent," Shejwalkar added.
Apart from Gwalior, many other districts in Madhya Pradesh including Bhopal, Hoshangabad, Rewa, Jabalpur, Chambal, Indore and Ujjain are facing acute shortage of drinking water since early April.
The situation is reportedly even worse in remote areas of Kumbhraj and Raghaugarh of Guna districts where villagers have to tread for miles to fetch water.