Khalsa Aid help drought hit villages in Maharashtra

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As Maharashtra continues to battle extreme water crisis due to drought, a group of Khalsa Aid volunterrs from Punjab are providing relief by bringing potable water to their doorstep.

Youngsters including engineers and professional pilots have travelled over 1,700 km, all the way from Patiala to work in Latur’s slums to provide water to villagers of the drought-hit region. Ten volunteers of Sikh charity “Khalsa Aid” are trying to distribute 30,00,000 litre water during their month-long stay in the district.

One of the volunteers, Amarpreet Singh, said that as soon as they came to know about Latur’s plight, they realised it required more than just lip service.

The Latur drought was all over the news and on social networking sites. But we thought merely commenting on posts and expressing grief wasn’t enough. We have volunteers across the world and as it was a national emergency, we reached here to help,” said Mr Amarpreet.

The team reached Latur last week and started locating pockets to focus in terms of providing water. Apart from language issues, they were told not to venture into slum pockets of Latur city as residents were attacking water tanker drivers and stealing water owing to the crisis.

When we reached these slum areas, the situation was way different than what was told to us. People expressed gratitude and at first, they couldn’t believe that we have come from so far just to help them,” added another volunteer, Tarun Singh.

After review, the team adopted slum pockets and with the help of 20 water tankers, they started distributing around 200 litre water to every household. The water was purchased from bore wells located 30 km away from the city and tankers with a capacity of 5,000-6,000 litre each were deployed to provide 100,000 litre water every day for three days to Laturkars.

Initially, the group had decided to stay for a fortnight but has now extended their stay to one month, during which time they will provide 30,00,000 lakh litres of water to Laturkars.

The first thing people here said after realising that we have come from Punjab is that god forbid if anything happens in Punjab, they would be the first to reach there to help. That’s when I realised that a simple attempt to provide water to those who don’t have it has strengthened relations between our two states,” said Amarpreet Singh.

Our association is opened for all. It is not just Sikhs, but people from all religions are contributing to the noble cause. It is only after we got permission from the Maharashtra transport minister that our tankers are helping in distributing water. It will continue for 45 days till the onset of monsoons. The total project will cost us Rs 50 lakh or more,” said Bal.
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