Lucknow, Jan 2 (IANS): Bundelkhand's 'Jal Sahelis' (friends of water) -- a group of women working for water conservation and revival of ponds in the Bundelkhand region -- have asked all political parties to include water conservation, revival of water bodies, demarcation of water structures, allotment of land and houses to the landless besides proper implementation of MGNREGA scheme, in their manifestos for the upcoming UP assembly polls.
The Jal Sahelis have already handed over their 'water manifesto' to heads of all political parties.
Shivani Singh, state coordinator of 'Jal Jan Jodo Abhiyan', told IANS, "The geographical location of Bundelkhand region is different in Uttar Pradesh. Spread in the hilly terrain, the region is drought-prone. A few years back, the area was in the grip of drought for a decade and people had to migrate in search of livelihood and water. The 1.3 crore people residing in the region depend on agriculture for livelihood. Around 40 to 50 per cent of the population has to migrate to cities and other states in search of jobs."
She further said that 'Jal Sahelis' want to draw the attention of political parties towards the issues and problems faced by the people residing in the seven districts of Bundelkhand region -- Jhansi, Lalitpur, Jalaun, Hamirpur, Mahoba, Banda and Chitrakoot.
"The political parties should address the issue and include the demands of the people in their election manifesto for the 2022 UP assembly elections," she said.
Sanjay Singh, national convener, "Jal Jan Jodo Abhiyan", said, "Along with water conservation, the issues of unemployment, environment, tourism, art and culture have been included in the public manifesto. The people of Bundelkhand region have demanded formation of a Pond Conservation Authority to deal with water crisis and protection of water bodies. Each person should get 55 litre pure drinking water per month. Also, participation of the voluntary organisations in MGNREGA should be encouraged. The state government should appoint a retired judge for hearing the cases associated with the MGNREGA and women should also get farming and land ownership rights."
The Jal Sahelis said that before elections, political parties make promises to the people of Bundelkhand region to redress their grievances but after polls, they forget about the issues.