Agra`s unique Jal Sewaks return

Updated: May 16, 2011, 13:44 PM IST

Agra: Agra`s unique voluntary force of Jal Sewaks has returned, running a network of over 50 water huts to provide safe, cool and free drinking water to anyone who wishes to quench his thirst in this scorching summer.

"The rich can buy chilled water bottles. But what about the man on the street... the rickshaw-puller or an average worker on his bicycle? It is this mass of humanity that our Jal Sewa network caters to," Bankey Lal Maheshwari, incharge of the Sri Nathji Nishulk Jal Sewa, told reporters Monday.

"Ice rates have gone up phenomenally and the labour also charges more than it used to, but somehow we are managing this Jal Sewa," he added.

The unique service is now 25 years old and is run as a voluntary movement with no formal structure. It is headed by Lord Sri Nathji himself and the donations are collected in his name.

The volunteers also provide drinking water to passengers in trains and buses.

Four years ago, the London Rotarians donated a three-wheeler which now ferries ice slabs and emergency water supplies, said Maheshwari.

Two new water huts were inaugurated last week.

"The water we use is safe as it is from underground, we do not use municipal corporation water. The water points are manned by retired people who are paid daily for their services," said Maheshwari.

Renowned physician MC Gupta, who had earlier inaugurated a water hut, said: "Providing safe and cool drinking water in this scorching heat is a true social service to mankind."