By Steven Rathod*
Why do we still thirst for water? Well, I don’t seek a scientific or factual explanation for the question but even though water is our necessity, many in the country are left deprived of it. And it is a cruel capitalist world out there. We make business out of any pain the public faces and make cash out of it however inhumane it seems.
It is tragic that the water that is supposed to be free to the public is sold to them. There are more than 250 water tanker suppliers operating in the city of Ahmedabad, Gujarat, the state where the prime minister hails from and whose ‘Gujarat Development mode’ is highly touted as a success. These tanker suppliers charge on average 1000 bucks on a tanker and run around 30-40 in a day’s time. Well, the Urban population can even cope with this through the privileges it possesses. But the rural population finds itself stranded in a desert. But there are some good Samaritans that make mirage in the desert a reality.
Social activist by the name of Farookhbhai Rangrej and Mohsinbhai Dosani and their team work silently and provide potable water to the farfetched villages free of cost to the people. All the cost is borne by them and it costs them more than a lakh per month to run this humanitarian cause. They have been quenching the water needs of thousands of people for over six years running now. They sigh a breath of relief if there is good monsoon season and conserve as much as possible to serve it for the rest of the year. Especially in temperature ranges above 45 degrees Celsius, they have sent water to many areas of the city like Narol, Ramol, Vatva, Navrangpura, Juhapura and Fatewadi.
They have not only stopped at this but educated the people about the water conservation methods and helped them build reservoirs, small ponds and check dams. Farooq Bhai is differently abled person, but he handles the management of the operation while Mohsin Bhai take cares of all the financial requirement of the operations. Their jugalbandhi to solve the problem has brought rainbows in the lives of several people.
When Farooq Bhai was a child, they had to walk several kilometers to fetch water. He firmly resolved that he would work on this further in his life at tender age only. Later, they started with two bore wells in Fatewadi green park and transporting the water to nearly 250 households. The cost of the wells was around 9 lakh and were around 500 meters deep.
The societal impact of this is huge as women don’t have to walk miles to get water and they can support and fend a hand to keep the household running. The kids are now not left malnourished as the parents have time and energy to take care of them. They don’t have to help out their families in the work and pursue education. The domino effect of one simple good deed is immense.
While it is great to hear this story of people coming out to help people, but the government is caught napping hard time. While we claim to be a super-fast developing economy competing with the superpowers of the world, large chunk of our population still lacks basic amenities in life. India is country with a great coastline, but it has greatly failed to leverage this to its advantage to fulfill the water needs. While the Narmada project is a success, we can take a leaf out of Israel who uses water desalination techniques to purify water for drinking and irrigation purposes. While the government is busy procuring defense system from these nations, some good people like Farooq Bhai and Mohsin Bhai are taking up the mantle to serve the society selflessly.
*2nd-year student, pursuing MBA from IIM-Bangalore