The state of Chhattisgarh was carved out of Madhya Pradesh in the year 2000. The state’s population comprise mostly the Scheduled Tribes, the Scheduled Castes, Dalits and other backward classes. According to different survey reports most of the rural areas in Chhattisgarh lack basic amenities like safe drinking water and sanitation. Two major reasons for such a scenario are:
- Local Self Governance (PRI) is weak in term of generating resource, capacity to plan and execute, and also are not in any way to demonstrate their decision making power
- Lack of will amongst the political parties
If the gram panchayat becomes bit proactive it can resolve basic issues like availability of drinking water and
sanitation and can help in effective implementation of different flagship programmes of the government.
The Loksakti Samajsevi Sanstha (LSS), an NGO which has been working in different parts of Rajnandgaon district, conducted a base line survey during January, 2012 to understand the issues relating to water and sanitation in the 172 villages of 58 Gram Panchayats of the Ambagarh Chowki (block) of the district. The survey revealed that 80% population in 45 villages do not get adequate drinking water in the village itself. People either fetch drinking water from distant villages or wait for hours long to fetch water from the partially functional tube well (hand pump) of the village. In a small village called Shantinagar, there was only one tube well for about 20 families and this village also catered to a weekly market in the area. This tube well was out of order for the last 5 months. These 20 families of Shantinagar used to fetch drinking water from the nearby village Haditola, which was located at a distance of around one kilometre. As a result their daily routine used to be disturbed. The daily wage labourers had to take half a day off for fetching water from the other village. This was adversely impacting on their income. It was also impacting on their relation with families of Haditola, who were paying an opportunity cost to wait (because of increased pressure on the tube well) for water near the tube well. LSS decided to work with the community for overcoming the problem.