Jharkhand’s Khunti district gives new life to its water bodies

Ranchi (IANS) Khunti district, merely 30 kms from Jharkhand’s capital Ranchi, has been carrying out a silent revolution for the past five years which has led to rejuvenation of dried up water bodies.

The campaign is being run in Karrah, Murhu, Adki Khunti and Torpa blocks by villagers, officers of district administration and Gram Sabhas, public representative and Jansewa Welfare society.

Under this campaign, water which used to get wasted due to overflow is being stopped by making dams with sandbags at various places on the rivers and drains. Till date, at more than 300 places, people have made ‘dams’ with the help of gunny bags filled with sand.

Due to this campaign, illegal extraction of sand from the rivers of the area has been stopped.

As hundreds of people gather for the work, the feeling of community has been strengthened, through which solution to many problems are emerging.

Khunti resident Ajay Sharma, a journalist by profession and one of the facilitators of this campaign, says that due to the drying up of all the water sources including Murhu’s Tajna river, Banai river, Torpa’s Karo river during the summer, the region faced water crisis.

Sharma and his colleagues formed a public service welfare society in 2018 in Tapkara village.

During that time, cement work was going on in Ranchi on a large scale for the construction of Ring Road. The society got some empty sacks of cement from there which were filled with sand and a dam was built within few hours in the village. After that, all the people together cooked ‘khichdi’ and had a collective feast.

This campaign of collective cooperation was named Madait (Help) and ‘Janshakti Se Jal Shakti Tak’.

Due to their hardwork, Tapkara did not face water crisis that year. Many people, including villagers Sabita Sanga, Nikhil Gupta, Deva Hassa, Md Shakeel Pasha, Sandeep Kumar Gupta, Sushil Soy, were involved in this campaign from the beginning.

Due to illegal sand mining, existence of Banai river, the lifeline of Murhu, was in danger. The villagers along with the district administration and the Society built dams from sacks filled with cereal on the river due to which the river is full of water for 12 kms from Ganaloya Pump House to Ghaghari village.

The Banai river is about 50 kms long. It cascades into ‘Panchghagh Falls’, a famous tourist place of Khunti.

Earlier, the river had reached the verge of drying up. Due to less water in Panchghagh, tourists’ footfalls had also reduced.

On April 22, Earth Day, on the border of Murhu-Adki, people built a 300-feet-long sack dam on this river in which DC Shashiranjan, SP Aman Kumar, DDC Nitish Kumar Singh and SDO Aniket Sachan also participated.

On May 16, a one-day campaign to build ‘bori dam’ is scheduled to be held in Madgaon, in which many officers and people’s representatives will also participate.

There are dozens of small mountain rivers, rain drains and water sources in Khunti district, but their water either dries up in summer or goes waste. Many such rivers and water sources were drying up due to illegal sand mining, deforestation and encroachment.

This campaign has given new life to Chunghatti river of Fudi village under Khunti Sadar block, Charo and Chengarjhor river in Torpa block, Narda river in Adki and Tajna and Banai river in Murhu.

Due to the presence of water in the river, the surrounding water sources have also been recharged and water crisis issue has been resolved.

To save the river, the people of many villages have also “banned” illegal sand mining from their border.

Now, the villagers are not facing any kind of problem of water for their cattle and bathing. Moreover, children are also enjoying a lot of water sports in the river.

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