“My party BJD respects women. We will surely fulfill our promise of drinking water,” local municipal chairman Parsuram Sahu said.
With their wells running dry and the local municipality not supplying water, more than 200 women in western Odisha’s colliery town of Belpahar in Jharsuguda district on Tuesday stormed the office of the local municipal chairman and threw bangles at him. Chanting “municipality haaye haaye” and “choodi pindha” (wear bangles), the women from ward no 2 of Belpahara sat on a dharna inside Parsuram Sahu’s office and demanded water. “If you can’t supply (water), start wearing bangles. You are unfit to be chairperson,” a protester said. In Belpahar, the mercury has risen to 45 degrees Celsius since last fortnight
On Monday, women from two wards in Belpahar had blocked the NH 49 and had lifted the blockade only after authorities assured them of water supply through tankers.
With no sign of a tanker, the women on Tuesday went to the borewell in ward no 2 and found that it was locked by the local councillor and Notified Area Council’s vice-chairman.
When they demanded that the borewell be unlocked, supporters of the municipal chairman allegedly misbehaved with them. The women lodged a complaint with the local police and then approached Parsuram Sahu. “The vice-chairman misbehaved with some women. We want justice,” said a protester.
“My party BJD respects women. We will surely fulfill our promise of drinking water,” Sahu said.
The municipality supplies water to only 7 of the 19 wards in the town.