This is one of rare episodes where one aging woman’s determination helps a whole village quench its thirst. Laxmi Poojarthi, with a team of four other women, have dug up a 52-foot deep well in their parched village located in Kundapur taluk in Karnataka’s Udupi district recently. Laxmi, a 60-year-old woman, took up the initiative in Viveknagar Colony of Amparu gram panchayat under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005. At least 10 households now depend on the well.
Her village, Amparu, is notorious because of its highly undulating terrain. Water is supplied to the area through tankers during the summer. During the rest of the year, the nearest source of potable water is at least two to three km away. Hand pumps, too, do not provide good quality drinking water here.
It took almost three-and-a-half months for the women to dig the well, which is six-feet in width. The gram panchayat has a provision of providing wells under the NREGA Act. The wages were paid. Rs 82,000 was used for installing rings inside the well. However, the cost of installing the rings was Rs 1.18 lakh. Such is the dedication of Laxmi, that she used her savings of Rs 40,000, including part of wages from the NREGA, work to meet the cost.
To this uplifting feat pulled off by women, Kiran Hegde, Amparu GP Vice-President, is all praise. “Laxmi is a brave woman and a role model for all. The woman gave her entire savings for a public cause. She has done something extraordinary,” he said and added that the GP had dug five wells and sunk 40 borewells in the area for providing water to about 188 families.
“There’s no one that I can call my family and it does not bother me. I get my pension and if this small effort helps others, it’s worthwhile,” Laxmi, who has been abandoned by her relatives after the death of her parents, told The Times Of India.
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