Tuesday, 11 August, 2020

Baitadi villages sans drinking water dumped with alcohol, junk foods


By Gokarna Dayal

Baitadi, Feb. 14: Even though Binayak village of Pancheshwor Gaupalika-4 has finally been connected to the road network, the locals have been facing scarcity of drinking water.
Women of Binayak village walk all the way to the Mahakali River to fetch water.
“Due to lack of drinking water, we have been compelled to drink impure water from the river,” said Parbati Chand. “Only supply of cold drinks and alcohol has increased in the village after the village got connected to the road network.”
Agricultural prospect of the village is also at risk because of unavailability of irrigation, she added.
Not only Pancheshwor, Shivanath Gaupalika, located on the bank of the Mahakali River and Dasarathchand Municipality-6 and 10 have been facing similar problems.
A local woman complained that they had been drinking water from the river throughout the year.
Oxfam Nepal and RUWDEC, Baitadi revealed that 2,500 households from Shera of Dasarathchand Municipality to Shivanath Gaupalika had remained dependent on the Mahalaki River for drinking water.
Tejram Lohar, Programme Officer of RUWDEC, said, “A project of lifting irrigation water from Mahakali River to Tirakhdeni Village of Dasarathchand Municipality is under construction.”
Ward Chair of Pancheshwor Gaupalika Gorakh Bahadur Chand said that the entire village had been facing a lot of problems due to absence of drinking water facility.
Chand said that a team from the central government had inspected the village to implement drinking water project in the village.
As the local levels have started constructing the roads without conducting Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), all sources of drinking water have dried up.  
Instead of supplying agricultural products to other markets from the village after the construction of road, only junk foods, carbonated soft drinks and alcohols are being supplied to the village.
Even Indians across the river have started visiting the village to drink alcohol, said Birendra Chand, a local. The women of the village have been facing additional problems due to supply of alcohol in their villages.
Khimadevi, an Indian national of Huldugram, said, “Our village across the Mahakali River is a dry region and alcohol isn’t available. This is why Indian nationals have been crossing the river just to drink liquor.”
According to the cottage and small scale industries committee, in the Fiscal Year 2076/77, as many as 47 people have received license to sell alcohol in 10 local levels of Baitadi.
Now 24 new licenses to sell alcohol have been provided in Melauli Municipality, Pancheshwor and Shivanath Gaupalika.
As alcohol-related complaints have been increasing in District Administration Office, the office had reached an agreement with the local levels to not issue new licenses.
Chief District Officer Ananda Poudel said that the local levels had been issuing license despite the agreement. 

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