Can you change my destiny?

  • 30/10/2003

Bhansiya Chana, Almora district
The six villages of Bhansiya Chana gram sabha in Shereghat, Almora district, Uttaranchal, share the water of river Jaiganga, a tributary of river Saryu. Mungli Devi, a 52-year-old landless thekedar, toils for close to 12 hours a day so that the 3500-odd users of the river don't fight. Her skill is time tested: she has already spent 32 years in managing irrigation in these villages.

She has fixed a formula for equitable water distribution, which has been in practice for three decades. In the seven villages, irrigation water reaches first to the person who tills the lands first, irrespective of location. "Irrigation of farms takes place on the basis of land tillage and preparation," she says.

For her the gross farm product of the villages is of utmost important. She has to ensure that the irrigation channels are in proper condition. She even hires labour to clean up the channels.

She usually gets one-fifth of the farm produce. Her sons have migrated to urban areas to sustain their families. She thinks they shouldn't return. "I will continue to do so as I don't have any option," she says.

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