Where girls pedal 3 km to fetch water

It is a daily routine for them during summer months

by T. Appala Naidu, originally posted on May 26, 2016


“If I can bicycle, I bicycle,” said renowned naturalist David Attenborough.

The girls of Kankatava panchayat on the outskirts of Machilipatnam remind the onlookers of Mr. Attenborough’s views on cycling.

The girls have taken to pedal to make available water to their families!

In several habitations of the panchayat, girls can be seen fetching at least four pots of water on the bicycle despite the total weight of pots being almost double the weight of the each girl.

Like Kodali Sukeerthi and K. Radhika, many from Nandana Colony pedal at least three kilometres to Saradayapalem to fetch sweet groundwater drawn from a hand pump. They have an option to fetch water from a well nearby, but the water isn’t that sweet.

At the age of 12, the two girls fetch at least eight pots of water in two trips from the well, which is almost going dry.

“Fetching water has become a daily routine for us during summer. Our friends too join us to fetch water from the well,” say Sukeerthi and Radhika.

“Since I know cycling, my mother need not walk all the way to fetch water. I am happy to play a key role in mitigating water woes of my family,” says Suni Kalluru, who is pursuing her bachelor’s degree.

Interestingly, girls outnumber boys in fetching water from the hand pump.

“The prospect of having to go all the way to the hand pump in case the well dries up is causing us a lot of worry,” says Ms. Suni.

Lack of access to potable water is causing a lot of hardship to at least 4,000 inhabitants of the panchayat, which comprises three hamlets — Nandana Colony, Gundetigunta, and Kattukuvanipeta.

“We hope the skies will open up sooner than later. We have survived this summer despite poor access to safe drinking water,” says Kolluri Rama Koteswara Rao, a villager.

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