Tuesday, March 28

Giving Sundarbans back its fresh water sources

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Katamari village in Kultali and Deulbari 2 island village on Matla in Sundarbans were devastated by Amphan. Worse, saline water breached the embankments to invade all its drinkable water sources. One or two deep tube wells are so over-exploited with a queue for water often stretching beyond one km.

“After the first survey, I shared the report detailing the plight of people of these two villages with the forest department and organisation who could extend help to these people. Severe shortage of potable water has left the villagers prone to numerous diseases. Women and children were particularly hit,” said Raja Chatterjee of Junglee.

Deep tube well, which also draws saline water, is no solution for Sundarbans. Only dewatering the saline water and harvesting rainwater in the dry pond can only be a sustainable solution. Junglee eventually embarked on the mission of adopting 10 ponds in these two villages as monsoon has already set in. “But dewatering is easier said than done in such remote areas where even power supply is a big issue. Even on July 13, a tiger picked up a villager when he ventured into the forest for fuel wood,” Chatterjee added.

Junglee purchased petrol run pump sets. Four more such sets were hired from a local contractor. Four ponds could be dewatered so far, and they were fast being replenished with rainwater. If we manage to do the same for the rest of the ponds before the retreat of the monsoon, the villages can swing back to normal life, said a Junglee member.

Our efforts matured to fruition all thanks to generous funding by Indian Oil, Hindustan Petroleum, Harsh Neotia, Patton International and 20 individuals and members of Junglee. Because of their contribution, we managed to distribute basic staples and essentials, medicines, sanitary napkins, bleaching powder among villagers, said Chatterjee.

Source: Times of India

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