Monday, July 16, 2012

Stakeholders Workshop, Gurgaon

DATE: 22.6.2012

The second stakeholders’ workshop in Gurgaon under the IDRC Supported project ‘Water security in periurban South Asia: adapting to climate change and urbanization’ was organised on the 24th of June, 2012 at the Ramada, BMK, Gurgaon. Dr. Vishal Narain began by highlighting the agenda of the meeting which was mainly to:
-         Assess how far the PHED had come in terms of performing the tasks agreed to at the last meeting to improve the water access of communities in the villages of Sultanpur and Jhanjhrola Kheda
-         Identify any other areas  that needed face to face dialogue between the water users and the PHED (Public Health Engineering Department)
-         Identify the further course of action during the last year of the project to improve water security in these two villages
-         Identify ways of continuing this process of dialogue between the PHED and the water users beyond the project period 

 Dr. Vishal Narain then highlighted some of the work that had been taken up by the PHED and the progress made since the last meeting as also some of the issues that had been raised by the PHED in relation to local water management practices.

The PHED made a few suggestions and urged the villagers to try and pursue those at their level. These included -
  • ·         Informing the PHED about the illegal connections in the village, so that FIR could  be lodged against those who pursued such practises.
  • ·         Forming a Water Committee to monitor the work and maintenance of the system

Some more suggestions that came from the PHED included compulsory registration of personal tubewells with the Central Groundwater Board;  otherwise they would be seized very soon by the authorities. On enquiring about the tank set up by the PHED in Sultanpur on a portion of a private land, the PHED officials informed that it could not be shifted from the current location, but the owner could be compensated. Also regarding the alternate day availability of water for some of the households in the Sultanpur village, the PHED mentioned that as per their records, they were supplying 70 litres per day per person, but due to illegal connections, most of the water was being taken away by other households leaving some without any water.

The meeting concluded with some concerns that were raised by women panch members from Sultanpur, who felt that water quality testing was very important. Apart from this, there was a need to provide an alternative source of fresh water especially considering the poor families who did not have any means of filtration. Also a pipe connection for households across the railway line was of urgent need.

Summary and Conclusions

This meeting saw a lot of change in the attitude of both the villagers as well as the PHED. Since the purpose of the meeting was to foster dialogue between the water users and providers, and to find ways to jointly improve or solve the problems, both sides conducted themselves very well. As against the usual blame game and anarchy characterising the relationship between the water users and providers, this had taken the form of a disciplined, structured and focused interaction to chalk out a future course of action.

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