ANANTAPUR: Women during their monthly periods are not allowed to fetch drinking water from a small pond at Paipedu, an interior village in Mudigubba Mandal. The practice exists for many years.
Due to the lack of safe water sources, the village with a 300-strong population depends on this pond for drinking water. Though a water pipeline served the area from a nearby village for some time, it got damaged a year ago.
Women are not allowed entry to the pond area for five days when they are through their monthly periods. When their men are not around to help them, they have to depend on other families for their drinking water needs.
Lakshmi Devi, a villager said the custom is being followed by the entire village. No woman during her menstrual period should touch the pond. When the pond dried up a decade ago, villagers suspected it happened due to the entry of some woman into the pond during her periods.
“We are strictly following the custom for many years. Neighbours and friends supply drinking water for families that do not have a male member on such occasions,” she said.
Paipedu, located at a hillock about 23km away from the Mandal headquarters of Mudigubba in Kadiri revenue division has no road access even from the gram panchayat headquarters of Madannagari Palle, about 3km away.
The area is badly hit by fluoride presence in groundwater and the water from a bore well that existed in the village with 7.8Ph is not used for drinking purpose.
Previously, a 3km-long pipeline existed from Madannagaripalle connecting the village to the water tank and it served drinking water for Paipedu. “The pipeline was badly damaged during the erection of a road and water supply stopped a year ago. Since then, the entire village depends on the small pond,” a villager said.
No action was initiated by the gram panchayat and the rural water supply wing to solve the water problem. During the time when there was a drinking water supply via the pipeline, the women even during their periods fetched water from it, and no custom prevented them from doing so.
The pond draws in rainy water as also depends on groundwater sources, which are not pure for consumption but the people have no alternative source.
Landowner P. Venkataiah came forward to donate land for drilling a bore well about a km away from the village, with fewer chances of fluoride content. “I shall donate the land, but the government should bear the expenses to drill a bore well and install a pipeline into the village,” he told DC.
Interestingly, the entire village follows another female custom. The women will have only home deliveries and will not go to hospitals for childbirth. The medical department tried to create awareness among them while the health care workers are concentrating on the village to reduce such post-delivery complications....