DHANKUTA, September 11: In absence of proper drinking water sources, people residing near the banks of Tamur River are obliged to rely on muddy and murky water for their survival. This has been a common problem for the locals here since years.
Even upon knowing that the water is contaminated and is not suitable for drinking, the locals have no other option rather than drinking the same water. Though the water is somewhat drinkable in other seasons, it gets highly polluted during monsoon.
"We have been relying on this water since ages," said Indira Majhi, a local of Kurule Tenupa, Bhaisetar. There are around 32 households in that village.
Three years ago, the locals used to fetch water from the pond of nearby Gangate River. But that source of water has dried up now, compelling the locals to drink the muddy water of Tamur again. Geographical and topographical difficulties have made Kurule Tenupa one of the least developed villages of the district. Bhaisetar is the most backward ward of this village. This ward is a settlement of few Majhi and some Tamang families. Elderly citizens here sustain their livelihood through their family profession of fishing while the youths fly to foreign lands in search of job.
"Drinking the muddy and stinking water is not our choice but our compulsion. At least it is better than dying of thirst," says Ram Bahadur Thapa of Dhankuta Municipality-9, Chimsuwa. According to him, locals these days are habituated with drinking the polluted water. The condition of people is so miserable that they don't even have water to serve their guests.
"We rarely welcome guests to our home due to the fear of disgusting them and embarrassing ourselves," he said.
The shortage of proper water source has resulted in the pathetic condition of the village. Locals of Karkale, Sapting, Ghangharu, Safaitar, Pokhare among others have to struggle for water during rainy season as well as in the winter.
Use of polluted water often leads to various kinds of water-borne diseases such as cholera, diarrhea, typhoid among others. Some also catch various kinds of skin allergies. While taking bath and carrying water for the daily use, many have been disappeared in the river. On September 8, five-year-old Sneha Shrestha who had reached the river to fetch water was swept away by the river. On September 6, Police had recovered a dead body of an identified person in the river.
A large number of arable lands in the settlement have been left barren due to lack of irrigation facility. The growth and harvest of crops here depend completely on rainwater.
Few years ago, the Department of Irrigation had announced to start irrigation in the settlements near the river which had elated the locals for a while but now it seems like a far-fetched dream.