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Pledge water, get vote

Summer and water scarcity are like two sides of the same coin for Chas subdivision, which lies barely a kilometre from Bokaro steel city.

With the Lok Sabha polls here, residents have pledged to make water crisis their main demand in lieu of votes. Chas comes under Dhanbad constituency and will go to polls on April 24.

More than 200,000 residents are deprived of a proper drinking water supply system and are dependant either on deep borings or hand pumps. To make matters worse, the water table is continuously depleting and groundwater is now available at a depth of 800ft.

Under such dire circumstances, many are forced to buy water at Rs 10 a gallon. Those who are unable to spend that much of money on a daily basis have to wake up around 3am and travel all the way to Bokaro district collectorate to fetch water.

Prabhat Colony resident Arjun Prasad (60) is one of them. “I have to wake up around 3am to bring water from Bokaro. Though we have lost all hope, we will still ask candidates coming to seek votes to provide us with water after being elected,” he added.

Notably, the Centre had launched a water supply project in 2008. It was supposed to get over by 2011 and promised to bring water from Damodar to Telmachcho bridge that is located around 14km from Chas.

As a part of the project, four overhead tanks, a water treatment plant and a well were to be built. Besides, the Centre also promised to lay pipelines for distribution.

According to officials of Chas Municipality, the local executing authority, the project is almost complete.

Residents are sceptical. “We have been hearing similar assurances for the past three years. We will only vote for someone who will take up the issue after being elected,” said president of Bokaro Chamber of Commerce and Industry Sanjay Vaid.