By Sher Bahadur Sarki,Bajura, Nov. 5: “Banegaun bahadi danda, khaun bhanya pani lai Haat samai sai saknenai, jaau bhanne bani lai”
This is a deuda song sung by girls who come at the Bhuktoli Mela, a fair organised in Barjukot of Bajura district every Dashain, to the boys of Banegaun, a village in Budhiganga Municipality-4 of Bajura.
The problem of water scarcity in Banegaun has been ongoing for generations, and through the song the girls show their unwillingness to marry the boys of Banegaun as they don’t want to deal with the scarcity of drinking water.
Banegaun is a beautiful village situated at a high altitude, and because of this altitude the village do not have a proper source of water.
According to the elders of Banegaun, the above-mentioned lyrics are recited by many girls who arrive at the fair from different districts to play deuda. “It was sung before and is sung now as well,” the elders recalled.
Meanwhile, it is not that any drinking water project was ever been initiated for the villagers. In 1995 drinking water was brought to the village from Bedughati, which was around three kilometres away.
There are around 1,250 individuals from 250 families in Banegaun. “There are seven taps in the village that were constructed in the initial phase. We do not know when the water comes, it is unpredictable,” said Gomati Katuwal, a local and social worker of Banegaun.
“Before the drinking water was pumped to the village, the women of Banegaun used to fetch water from the well in Pipal Tola. It was the source of water for our ancestors. The drinking water project brought some relief; however, we are now back to where we left,” said Katuwal.
Villagers have also been struggling to maintain proper personal hygiene and sanitation due to the lack of drinking water. The pipeline was repaired by the organisation in 2013. However, the pipeline started being damaged a couple of years after being repaired, and now, the water is scarce in Banegaun.
“After 2013’s repair, the pipeline has not been repaired as a result pipeline stopped working recently and the scarcity of water resumed,” said Jay Bahadur Katuwal, chairman of Bedughati Drinking Water Construction Committee.
Meanwhile, authorities informed that a new drinking water project was under construction for the villagers.
“Churepani Drinking Water Project started two years ago with an aim to make drinking water accessible for the villagers of Banegaun. Every house will be equipped with a tap in the next two years,” said Gorakh Khatri, chairman of the project construction committee.
“A project under the provincial and federal government’s five-year-plan is also underway. Banegaun will bid farewell to the problem of water scarcity within two years,” Khatri added.
“A proper project was initiated two years ago to make water accessible through taps in every household of Banegaun. We expect the project to get completed on time as the locals are currently bound to fetch water from far,” said Min Bahadur Shah, ward chairman of Ward No. 4 of Budhiganga.
Meanwhile, Shah informed that a dispute between two sides regarding the source of water for the new project had caused unnecessary delays.
“It has been said that the dispute has been solved. Let’s hope there will be no more obstructions and delays from now on,” said Shah.