Locals of Leguwa dependant on Bhojpur for Drinking Water
Sharadevi Paudel, 55, a local of Mahalaxmi Municipality-5, Leguwa Dhankuta, wakes up at 5 am and goes to fetch water across the Arun river after walking for 1.5 hours. Even at 4 o’clock in the evening, her job is to get drinking water from the same place. Poudel is just one example of the situation. Residents of Leguwa have been facing an extreme drinking water crisis for the past 10 years. Due to the lack of a large water source, it takes more than 1.5 hours for more than 100 households to get drinking water.
The Arun River is flowing five meters below Leguwa Bazaar. There is a shortage of drinking water in Leguwa market even though the Arun River flows so close.
Lila Kumari Shrestha, 48, of Leguwa Bazaar in Mahalaxmi Municipality-5 has been fetching drinking water from Feri Bazaar in Bhojpur district for the past 10 years.
Even though the Arun River is only five meters away from Leguwa, it takes half an hour on the winding road to reach the bridge. People have to walk 45 minutes to reach the market again from the Arun river bridge. Poudel said that she came to Bhojpur from Dhankuta to fetch drinking water as the water sources used till 2009 were drying up.
Residents of Leguwa have been forced to cross the Arun River bridge to fetch water after a dozer dug the road during the Bhojpur road expansion due to drought. There is also a source of drinking water extracted by deep boring.
The people of Leguwa have been using the water extracted by deep boring by the contractor five years ago while paving the Leguwa-Bhojpur road. Before that, the people of Leguwa had been fetching drinking water from a well in the market for another half an hour. Recently, the people of Leguwa have been using deep boring water, which is also an hour and a half away.
There are complaints of people carrying water for more than an hour in the morning and evening even though it is empty in the afternoon when they go to fetch water. Meena Kumari Shrestha, 45, of Mahalakshmi Municipality-5 said that she had to suffer more in January, June, July and August. He said that the local government has been helping to bring drinking water to Leguwa for the last four years even though it has been 10 years since he started drinking water from Bhojpur.
Residents of Leguwa Bazaar are forced to carry drinking water after suffering from different diseases as the water source from the drinking water project that was in operation five years ago was polluted. Shrestha says that the problem of diarrhoea and sore throat has disappeared after she stopped using the water from the drinking water project.
Residents of Leguwa are more worried about the problem of drinking water during the COVID-19 pandemic than at any other time. The risk of the spread of COVID-19 is higher during this time. Till now, three people have been infected with COVID-19 in Leguwa Bazaar till April 30. Suwan Shrestha, 25, of Mahalakshmi Municipality-5, Leguwa, said that the infected people had gone to fetch drinking water till the previous day. There is a water line here every day from 5 am to 7 am and also from 5 pm to 8 pm. Despite the hope that the problem would be solved after the arrival of the people’s representative, the people of Leguwa have complained that nothing has been done so far.
According to the locals, the people of Leguwa have started migrating due to the crisis of drinking water. The Mahalaxmi Municipality, on the other hand, has stated that it has monitored the sources and pipelines in ward 5 and 6 of the municipality to solve and manage the drinking water problem.
The municipality has started the work in collaboration with the District Drinking Water Office for the addition of new pipelines and capacity building in the current fiscal year, said Mayor Parshuram Nepal.
Article 35 of the Constitution of Nepal 2072 BS has assured the right to health as a fundamental right. Article 4 of those right states that every citizen shall have the right to clean drinking water.
- Ishwar Thapa
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