Dalits

Dalits protest denial of piped water

September 30, 2014 11:17 AM

Berhampur, Sept 30:  Caste-based disparity by higher castes is allegedly preventing Scheduled Caste (SC) families of Sumantapur village in Ganjam district of Odisha from using the piped drinking water facility in the village.

United under the banner of Ganjam district unit of All India Kisan Mazdoor Sabha (AIKMS), these dalit villagers took part in a protest demonstration in front of the office of the Berhampur sub-collector to highlight this issue as well as other problems relating to agriculture. “It is an irony that even in the 21st century, exploitation of dalits is continuing in Odisha Chief Minister’s home district,” said Bhala Chandra Sadangi, leader of AIKMS.

Kartik Nayak, a dalit activist of the village, alleged that as this drinking water project is being managed by higher castes, they are intentionally not allowing the lower castes to use the water.

Sumantapur, situated at a distance of 40 kilometres from Berhampur, is part of the Malabhanja panchayat under the Sanakhemundi block of Ganjam district. In an area named Harijan Sahi, more than 60 SC families live in this village. According to dalit families of this village, the inhabitants are getting drinking water through a drinking water project taken up by the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation (RWSS) department. The drinking water pipeline of this project also exists in the area inhabited by dalits. But it is alleged that for the past two years no water is being supplied to the area where dalits reside.

Kartik Nayak, a dalit activist of the village, alleged that as this drinking water project is being managed by higher castes, they are intentionally not allowing the lower castes to use the water.

Because of this, dalit families of the village are compelled to collect water for their day to day use from the Ghodahada river bed four kilometres away. “We are ready to pay the cess for the supply of drinking water to our area, but the higher castes are not even accepting this,” Mr Kartik said.

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