07 May, 2021

Lake Placid In Bandit Land

Native wisdom goes one up on engineering expertise to bring a decades-old lake to life in Jhaknaud

Lake Placid In Bandit Land
The Chambal ravines have been the notorious abode of benighted dacoits ever since, it seems, the beginning of time. But it’s only in the past three years that a terror greater than the marauding manoeuvres of the deadly bandits has appeared on the horizon of Jhaknaud village, Shivpuri district, of the Chambal region in MP.

Three consecutive years of drought has diminished the menace of the Chambal dacoits. Instead, it’s the quest for a dependable source of water that has become the primary existential concern of the 300-odd families of Jhaknaud, a predominantly tribal settlement 38 km from the district HQ.

With no water for irrigation, compounded by the fact of poor monsoons, farmers had virtually stopped cultivation. Many had even migrated from the village to find work in towns. But this year the panchayat decided it would seriously try to solve the problem. The search for a sustainable water source ended at a nearby lake, spread over an area of about 20 acres and lying dry for several decades. A series of representations to the state government persuaded the...

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