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No drinking water in 80 villages of Mewat: DLSA Report

New Delhi: A recent report of the Disrtict Legal Services Authority (DLSA), Mewat has made some shocking revelations about the backwardness of Mewat district (a Muslim majority area) of Haryana, according to which it (Mewat) is the most backward district of Haryana, particularly in respect of standard of living, education and health. According to this report, 80 villages and one town have no access to drinking water and  that ever since Mewat was formed, these villages have never got clean drinking water. According to some reliable sources, DLSA’s figures (about the condition of water) are based on the information given by PWD of Haryana otherwise it is suspected that more than 200 villages have no clean drinking water. According to this report, salinity in underground water is a major problem for Mewat and because of non-availability of potable or clean drinking water people are compelled to arrange water tankers and pay Rs 1000-1200 for a tanker of water which they use for 30 to 40 days (for drinking only). According to these sources PWD has launched projects worth Rs. 200 crores for tackling drinking water problem but so far nothing tangible has been achieved. Apart from these villages, Firozpur Jhirka town also has no water supply. According to Narendra Singh, Chief Judicial Magistrate and Secretary of DLSA, Mewat has been declared a ‘dark zone’ in Haryana. The report also says that if too much ground water is extracted there is danger of the chemical wastes present in the ground getting mixed in the water which will greatly harm people’s health. Chemical wastes or effluents are in the ground because there are many small scale factories in the area. As egards education, literacy rate in Mewat is 57% and female literacy rate is only 37% (both Hindu and Muslim women) but taken separately, according to 2011 census and also according to researches, literacy rate in rural Meo (Muslims) females is about 20% only. The report says that the meagre literacy rate of Muslim women in Mewat is ‘sufficient to shake the conscience of any right thinking person’. Due to poor literacy rate people are not participating in Gram Sabhas. Women are spending substantial time in bringing water from distant areas and collecting fire wood. Lack of public transport and girls schools upto primary schools also are keeping the people away. There is absence of women-friendly infrastructure). Punhana and Firozpur Jhirka greatly lag behind in almost all development indices.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-30 November 2016 on page no. 14

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