Residents line up to collect drinking water from the tanker that is pressed into service by zilla parishad member Rajkumar Singh at Pradhantola on Tuesday. Picture by Bhola Prasad
He does not clamour for change. He becomes the change.
Meet zilla parishad member Rajkumar Singh, who has earned sobriquet of a water messiah for distributing drinking water for free in parched pockets under Haludbani panchayat, about 15km from Jamshedpur.
A 41-year-old businessman based in Parsudih, Singh is back in action to combat the summer of 2014.
The summer samaritan distributes drinking water daily via three tankers of 10,000 litres, 6,000 litres and 3,500 litres. This is the fourth year in a row that Singh is spending from his own pocket to quench people’s thirst.
The welfare initiative will benefit a population of over 50,000 residents of Parsudih, Shankarpur, Sarjamda, Pradhantola and Vidyasagar Palli in Haludbani panchayat area of Jamshedpur block.
“Almost all panchayat areas under my jurisdiction are facing acute drinking water crisis this summer. It’s a dry zone and tube wells and bore wells have gone defunct or dry. Lack of adequate rainfall has aggravated the situation. Therefore, this year too I have decided to supply water through tankers,” said Singh, who had convincingly won the 2010 rural polls.
He added areas such as Muckdumpur and Kitadih could also avail of his water service.
Adding that the water distribution would continue till the arrival of monsoon, Singh hailed Jusco, Tata Motors and district administration for supporting him in his venture.
“I am thankful to Tata Steel subsidiary Jusco for providing drinking water from its sources. Dhalbhum SDO Prem Ranjan has also supported us,” he said, adding that he shelled out nearly Rs 450 for every 10,000 litres.
The waterman also thanked Jojobera-based Lafarge cement plant for setting up four 24x7 taps near its premises. “I had requested them for the service. I am glad they responded. The taps are helping some 20,000 residents of Rahargora and Barigora,” he said.
Besides the summer service, Singh has also decided to provide water tankers to the needy for family functions.
Small wonder that residents can’t praise the water messiah enough.
“Cash-strapped rural bodies are waiting for government funds. But Singh is paying from his own pocket to help panchayat residents in this sweltering heat. It is a noble gesture,” said Anirban Mukherjee of Vidyasagar Palli.