Swatis protest against water shortage

People forced to fetch water from far-off areas during Ramazan.

Express August 12, 2011


After power outages that extend beyond 20 hours in a single day, Swatis are being forced to deal with acute water shortage during Ramazan.

Gul Kada Union Council, where over 40,000 people are residing, has been facing the issue for more than 40 days now. The entire scenario seems like a throwback to the times when people used to fetch water from far-flung streams and carry water pots on their heads and shoulders.

Residents of Gul Kada on Thursday staged a protest in front of the District Coordination Office and Tehsil Municipal Office against the authorities for failing to provide water to them.

They also threatened the Mingora Tehsil Municipal Committee that they will observe a strike if water supply is not restored soon.

“We are forced to bring water from a distance of two kilometres daily. We leave after we break the fast and come back at 11pm. Carrying water containers to the top of a hill where we live is a huge problem for us,” said Arshad, a local resident.

“We fast for 16 hours every day and then we are subjected to this laborious task, which is simply not fair. It is strange that the [Tehsil Municipal Administration (TMA)] is silent over the issue,” he added.

“The present government has pushed us 100 years back in history. We don’t have access to electricity, natural gas, roads and even water now. It seems as if we are living in the Stone Age. Is this the 21st century of Pakistan?” said Advocate Ikram, who was a part of the protest.

“The present government has failed to provide even the basic facilities of life to us. Only a revolution can get us rid of these corrupt politicians,” he added.

Similarly, Zarghona, 60, a resident of Gul Kada 3, said, “I am sick and tired of this terrible life. I have to carry these heavy pots of water and climb up a steep hill in this old age. No one is here to address our problems.”

TMA officials blamed Water and Power Development Authority for the entire problem. They said it was not possible to run the machines in the tube wells without electricity, adding that they did not have the necessary funds to run them with generators.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 12th, 2011.


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