Despite getting two water wagons in the area, rural Latur continues to face severe water shortage. School children now spending their vacations exploring areas beyond dry well for water. Latur being a education hub known for generating toppers year after year may not remain same, as this year many students have not given their exam and are unsure if they will resume their studies

once school opens.

Villages of Tanda and Lendegaon in Latur district continues to face hardship of drought. Parents wait in long queues for 8 to 10 hours and sometimes over 3 days to get water whereas children wait for them at home. Parents are alarmed about safety of their kids. In some cases, both parents and children take turn alternatively to get water when it comes. Their life juggles between earning wages for family and arranging water for survival. Therefore, children are tasked with responsibility of collecting water from places wherever it is available and parents continue with their job.

Children from drought affected Latur districts are asked to get water from houses due to non-availability of water in schools. Due to continuous load shedding water comes mostly during school hours. There is no lake in village, only one borewell is available, everybody fills water from there and that too only when there is electricity. Which compels students to miss classes and stand in long queues to collect water. Waiting in queues for hours in scorching heat makes children not only miss on their education but also makes them prone to various health ailments like dehydration , diarrhoea, typhoid etc.

“Siblings Rohan and Sakshi both residents of Tanda Village of class 7 and 5 respectively have responsibility of filling water for the family since both parents are daily wage workers. Due to load shading in district water comes in the area during school hours and sometimes it doesn’t comes for more than 3 days, so during that time they try to find water in nearby districts for which they stay in heat for hours and this is depleting their health. Rohan was admitted in hospital because of staying in Sun for longer hours.”

In recent years due to severe drought in Marathwada, Child Rights And You (CRY) along with their partners Kalapandhari Magasvargiye and Gramin Vikas Sanstha (KMAGVS) distributed drums to store water at schools to solve the problem but condition has further worsened due to non-availability of water. All wells are dried up and water level has gone very low. Residents are purchasing tanks of water which lasts for few days but since situation is becoming grim, they fear what if they not get water from next month onwards. Many residents are planning to migrate some have already migrated.

Kumar Nilendu , General Manager, Development Support , CRY says, “Water crisis in Marathwada is alarming and the most affected are women and children. Children in particular are forced to collect water from faraway places. First casualty is that their school education is affected as they have to be absent from school and secondly it creates unsafe environment for girl child as they are tasked with responsibility of collecting water. Steps have been initiated by Government to provide water in Latur district but government should also monitor absenteeism and dropouts and ensure possible support to these children, so that can continue with their education.”

Riya Lakhmani

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