In This Odisha Village, Even Contaminated Water Is Luxury

English News 18 May 2023 293

To alleviate suffering, the Odisha government had promised tap water connections under the centrally sponsored Jal Jeevan Mission..

`Come to learn, go to serve` reads the front wall of Bikapanga Upper Primary School in Tumudibandha block of Kandhamal district. Only 32 children study here from Class 1 to 8, yet those few are forced to `serve` themselves as facilities are hard to come by. The school does not have access to safe drinking water, and the boys and girls have to fetch water from the nearest canal if they want to use the toilet. "We have not seen any improvement in facilities, though the school was established in 1977. Even a tube well is not present," lamented Arjuna Majhi, the parent of a student. Water scarcity is a common thread running through the tribal villages of Kandhamal. To alleviate suffering, the Odisha government had promised tap water connections under the centrally sponsored Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) to all schools and anganwadi centres by 2022. However, that promise is yet to be fulfilled.

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