In the drought-hit Beed district of Maharashtra, cases of water-related diseases have gone up in the last couple of months. Amid water shortage, people here say they are forced to drink contaminated water.
Locals in Brahmagaon, one of the villages in the district, have only few wells in the area, which also have contaminated water.
One of the wells in this village has almost run dry and the remaining water gets mixed with mud. Manupriya, a 14-year-old, who regularly fetches water from the well admits she drinks it even though it makes her sick.
"I have got stomach ailments. When the school was open, I had to miss the school for two-three days. People here often fall sick because of dirty water," she says.
Meerabai Thakur, a 50-year-old villagers living in Bramagaon, walks 1.5 km every to fetch water from the same well.
She says because of the contaminated water, her son had fallen sick. "My elder son had to be admitted in a government hospital for two days. Doctor said it was because of the contaminated water. There is no water in the village so we drink water from anywhere we get," Meerabai Thakur says.
A water tanker, operated by the government, also supplies water to the village.
But villagers say they don't use the tanker water for drinking purpose since its quality is worse than the water in the wells.
"People don't drink tanker water as it comes from some lake, which is muddy. So villagers avoid it, " says Anil Gorad, a resident.
Tanker gets water filled about 15-20 km away from the village and the tanker operators say they filter it before supplying.
Sadanand Kale, a tanker operator, says, "Earlier the water was dirty but now the quality has improved. We use one kg powder which is mixed with 2 litres of water and use it in tankers. This kills the germs and purifies the water."
According to the Groundwater Survey and Development agency, the water level in all talukas of Beed has gone down.
Doctors at the local civil hospital say that the cases of gastroenteritis have gone up in the areas.
Doctor Girish Gudday, who works as a general physician at the Beed Civil Hospital says, "The main signs and symptoms are diarrhea and vomiting. And it occurs mainly because of polluted water."
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