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Twin problems haunt Srikakulam villages

By R. Jagadeeswara Rao

SRIKAKULAM, MARCH 1. Many villages in the district, especially in the upland area mandals like Ranasthalam, Laveru, Etcherla, G. Sigadam and others are under the grip of acute drinking water shortage and unemployment.

While women spend long hours to get a pot of potable water at the bore wells, men have started migrating to towns and cities in search of work.

A visit to the villages Kottapalli, Kotturupeta, Ajjalapeta, Vijayarampuram and others on Tuesday revealed that shortage of drinking water and lack of work for agricultural labourers were the twin problems that haunt people in these rural areas.

Two bores serve all

Located about 10 km from the State highway at Chilakapalem junction is Kottapalli. There are only two bore wells for the 150-odd families in the village. Says Ch. Linga Murthy, "Water from one bore well is not fit for drinking and we use it for other domestic purposes and for livestock. In the other well, water trickles only for an hour and even that stops sooner than later. One has to wait a few hours for the trickle to resume." In reply to the question on how they manage, he says, "What is it we can do? We made representations to political leaders and officials for one more bore but there is no response."

Bagga Appa Rao, another villager chipped in to say, "Politicians come only during elections and officials do not turn up till an agitation is launched."

Tanks and wells have dried up. Ground water levels are down. An abandoned well at the entrance of the village stands witness to this. Arella Surya Rao says migration from villages is a regular phenomenon. There was no rain in these parts since June. There was no work for farm labourers and many had migrated, mostly Vijayawada, in search of work.

Migration inevitable

Baggu Appa Rao, who had migrated to Vijayawada more than 15 years ago but came to the village to visit relatives, says in the background of near-drought conditions, migration is inevitable. The tale is the same in Vijayarampuram and Ajjalapeta villages. To add their woes, power supply is erratic. In the name of load shedding or load relief, supply is cut off from 6 to 11 a.m. Sometimes power cut is imposed in the evenings. "We just do not know the timings of power cut," said Konapalli Govinda Rao of Kotturupeta village, adding, "tubelights never glow in these parts (because of low voltage)."

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