NHRC notices to the Government of Maharashtra and the Union Ministry of Jal Shakti over reported acute water crisis forcing women leave their in-laws house in a Nasik village

New Delhi, 4th May, 2022

The National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, India has taken a suo motu cognizance of a media report that due to acute shortage of water in Dandichi Bari village in Nasik district of Maharashtra, the villagers have to struggle daily for a drop of water. The women have to walk a kilometer and a half every summer, from March to June, to fetch water from a nearly dry stream at the bottom of a hill taking a lot of time and patience to fill the pots. Reportedly, families now hesitate to get their daughters married off to men from this village.

The Commission has observed that the contents of the media report, if true, amount to gross violation of their basic human rights i.e. Right to Life and Dignity. It seems that in spite several efforts being made by the government agencies and announcement of various schemes to provide potable water, the relief is still away from this particular village.

Accordingly, it has issued noticed to the Chief Secretary, Government of Maharashtra and the Secretary, Ministry of Jal Shakti, Government of India, New Delhi calling for a detailed report in the matter within 6 weeks. The reports should include the steps being taken or proposed to be taken to redress the grievance of the residents of this village and present status regarding availability of drinking water in the area.

According to the media report, carried on 2, May, 2022, the filling one pot may take three hours and women have to walk a hilly terrain in odd hours twice a day to fetch water first in the morning at 4.00 AM and again after the sunset to avoid the scorching heat. The new brides are often not able to cope up with the horrible situation. They are so daunted by the extreme water scarcity that they do not want to stay in the village and return to their maternal homes. The village Sarpanch, reportedly said that many babus and journalists visit the village and take photographs of suffering of the villagers but no one helps.