With no access to clear drinking water due to non maintenance of tube wells and water tanks, villagers in Rayagada district in Odisha have taken to drinking contaminated water, raising the risk of an increase in water borne diseases.
Villagers of tribal-dominated, poverty stricken and Maoist affected villages including Mundapadar, Harinabhata, Ramuguda, Moiliguda and Dharmaguda are the ones suffering most.
With heavy pots in their hands, the women have to walk through dilapidated roads for more than two kilometers to fetch water from muddy streams.
The Government has set-up tube wells in certain places but either they are dysfunctional or have dried up due to decreasing ground water level.
"In our village drinking water is a big problem. People have to drink polluted water which causes different diseases .Two tube wells have been defunct for many days and are yet to be repaired. We are facing a lot of problems. We are labourers and cannot afford to waste much time in fetching water," said a villager, Gurunath Majhi.
One of the reasons for scarcity of potable drinking water is the threat of Maoists. Many projects for the development of the area are put on hold due to threats from the red rebels.
However, the authorities claim that repair work is underway and they are planning to supply tanker water at places where there is no ground water.
"Our department is repairing damaged pipe for water supply. We have tried many times to set up tube well in Hardaspur but we were not able to extract water as it is a dry zone. We will supply water through tankers now," said assistant executive engineer, Rural Water Supply and Sanitation, A.B.S. Sankaran.
Water from muddy ponds is generally polluted, therefore giving birth to diseases like cholera, dysentery and diarrohea.