Toote hue sapnon ki kaun sune siski (Who would listen to the sobbing of broken dreams?). This line by former prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee may well apply to the people of Bundelkhand and the water crisis in the region. This is because the people are shown dreams of solutions to the water crisis but the dreams eventually shatter every year.
Bundelkhand faces an acute water crisis every year. In large parts of the region, people have to buy water and drink it. This time, too, almost the same situation is being created since most sources of water have dried up and hand pumps have stopped producing water.
The 14 districts of Bundelkhand spread over Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh are united by one common crisis: shortage of water. That is why thousands of families are forced to flee the region. There were about 10,000 ponds in the area earlier. There are innumerable wells commissioned in the times of Chandel and Bundela kings, but now a large number of these wells as well as ponds have dried up. Yes, there are claims about developing new ponds and water structures every year, but the water crisis remains intact.
“There are so many water sources in Bundelkhand that there should not be a water crisis, but these water sources have all been destroyed over the years,” says Dhiraj Chaturvedi, a journalist who raised his voice against encroachment on Bundelkhand’s ponds.
“The land mafia in nexus with the administration, worked towards manipulating land documents so that ponds were converted into plots of land,” alleges Chaturvedi.
He further says, “Bundelkhand has become a milch cow for some people. As soon as the heat begins, the conservation of ponds starts, budgets are sanctioned. During the rains ponds fill up with rainwater and people are still kept hunting for long-term solutions. All this can happen because of the nexus between the administration, the officers and certain social workers. “
A social worker says, “As soon as the heat comes, the picture and fortune of the region are heard from all sides, the locals feel that their water problem will be eliminated, but the story and promises are repeated but never fulfilled. “
Past experience shows that whether it is Uttar Pradesh or Madhya Pradesh, a large number of ponds in Bundelkhand have been constructed with funds from the government. Campaigns have been launched saying ‘Save the ponds, save water.’ Not just that, the ponds were also beautified. But their beauty vanishes in the summer months every year. After the month of March, ponds turn into large barren tracts of land.