Thakurwadi villagers travel 24-km journey every day to quench their thirst
Thakurwadi village does not have water supply, and for years, villagers have been forced to travel to and fro Karjat station, to fetch the precious commodity; wells dried up in January
Villagers deboard the engine at Karjat station
While the government is focused on the metro, monorail and coastal road to better the commute in Mumbai, residents of a village just over 130 km from the city, have been traveling for 24-kms every day, to quench their thirst. Thakurwadi village, which is in a hilly region, has not had water supply. For the past few years, residents have been hopping onto a railway engine to fetch water from Karjat station. Thakurwadi village (Raigad district) is situated between Karjat and Khandala on the Mumbai-Pune railway route.
They fill water at Karjat station
Every day, villagers, including old women, carrying about 10 to 12 cans (20 litres per can) each, dangerously board an engine at Thakurwadi station by 11 am. (An additional engine is attached to trains at Karjat station and detached at Lonavala after the train climbs the ghat. This engine goes back to Karjat station via Thakurwadi, where it halts for few seconds.) Villagers board the engine and travel to Karjat station. Here, they fill their cans with water. At 2 pm they board the Karjat-Pune local to return.
After January there is no water in the only two wells in the village. Tukaram Pardhi, who retired as a railway gangman, said, "Jilha parishad member, NCP's Sudhakar Ghare, sends a tanker every day from Karjat. But it is not enough. The only option is to fetch water from Karjat for drinking purposes. We also have to give water to our cattle."
An old woman is helped to hoist a container full of water on her head after arriving at Thakurwadi station
Tulsiram Kavate, another villager, said, "Ghare wants to send two tankers every day, but the tanker driver is not willing to come upto our village again." Villagers say they are also sometimes stopped by the RPF at Karjat station.
Not much done
Ghare said he spends Rs 2,000 every day from his own pocket for the tanker. "I sent letters to the talathi and tahsildar to get this village roads and a water pipeline, but they have not taken any action. I have also written to the Forest Department."
When asked about the issue, Avinash Koshti, the tahsildar from Karjat, said many political parties have informed him about it. "But the village is on a mountain and part of it is under the Forest Department. So things are not in my hand. Still, I have given a detailed report to the collector of Raigad district."
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