During desilting, volunteers strike fresh water in Beed

Reeling under severe water scarcity, the Beed district has found a new lease of life in natural water streams. The Bharatiya Jain Sanghatana (BJS) has undertaken desilting work of 100 lakes and the workers have come across natural sources of water that are proving to be life-savers for the parched district.

The work began around a month and a half ago in five tehsils of the district and desilting of four lakes has already been completed. BJS planning to desilt the rest of the sites by June 15 and work is already on 83 lakes sites.

Some respite: The desilting work at Mhaskewadi lake unearthed a fresh water spring which is benefiting villagers in the parched district. Pic/Anup Sathphale

Help at hand
Pune-based traders from the community have joined hands with their counterparts at Beed. Sunil Lodha, a Pune resident who has come to Beed to help, said, “I have come to get involved in this noble cause. A proper work structure has been decided is such a way that we can concentrate on our work that is progressing smoothly. There is an SMS system at our headquarters that gives all details of work accomplished at all sites at the end of each day and all reports can be viewed at a glance. This also helps us get an exact picture of the work done.”

Fresh lifelines
Much to the delight of villagers in Pimpar Gavhan village, three natural water streams have been found in a lake that have become lifelines for the villagers.

Madhukar Matkari, a villager, said, “Our village used to get water from a tanker once in three days which was not sufficient at all. Apart from that, we had bore-wells that hardly had any water. Since these natural streams have been discovered, we are getting a good amount of water for which we have to walk around a kilometre from my home. But it is worth it. More people are coming for further away as the news of these streams is spreading.”

Abhijeet Pagaria, a volunteer on the site, said, “I look after this site. When workers found the small stream while digging the silt from the lake, they informed me about it and I immediately visited the spot. This is good news for villagers.”

Navnath Kale, a tractor owner, who carries silt from the lake at Pimpar Gavhar village to spread it at farms in the village, said, “Now I will also take water from here after work.”

Shantilala Muttha, president of the BJS, said, “This year, most lakes in Beed district have gone dry. We decided to carry out the desilting work to find some solution. It was impossible to work on all lakes in the district so we picked out most probable spots with an expert and took permission from the collector as well. More than 80 digging machines and over 20 drilling machines are working on over 80 sites. There are around 11 sites where excavation work is being done manually with the help of villagers.”

The other side 

Sunil Kenderkar, collector of Beed district, said, “There are around 84 temporary cattle shelters in which around 1,13,000 cattle are managed by the government. There are various organisations working for the desilting work and BJS is one of them that is helping on a large scale.”¬†

Cattle shelters
The BJS has also come up with 30 temporary cattle shelters that are catering to around 10,000 cattle from the Beed district. Mannik Bharne, a villager from the Chausala village, is a beneficiary. He said “There is no water in the village and the tanker comes once in the three days making it difficult to provide water for humans. Cattle are neglected but they are the backbone of a villager so we have sent them to a cattle shelter. Here they get cattle feed and water twice a day. The doctors visit these shelters and take care of their health.

Another beneficiary, Mohmmad Sharif Quereshi from another village, said “Buying feed and water is difficult on a daily basis as takes around Rs 80 a day. Here we get it free and we can utilise the money for our daily needs.”

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