Hoping to put an end to the water crisis in Palakkad a group of women decided to dig wells across the district. The women have already drilled 72 wells in Ottappalam taluk which is reeling under the scorching sun. 

About 150 women under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) successfully dug 72 wells across the area in just 84 days. 

The group started their work in November last year as they found that returning monsoon was patchy. The team dug wells across 13 wards in the panchayat. "We plan to complete 100 wells before March," panchayat president K Jayadevan said. 

Six workers are deputed to dig a well, and it takes almost 75 days to complete the work. "In the beginning, work was really hard, but as time passed, we got used to it. The same six workers are also held responsible for maintaining the well," one of the workers said. 

Te workers group hire equipment and each worker get a daily wage of ₹250. The wells are in private compounds, but the land owner will have to give a declaration that he will allow public to use it. Beneficiaries are chosen based on their financial background. Those from the economically backwards community are given priority. 

Workers also adopt measures to ensure that the mud of the well does not fall back. In paddy fields, they use old tiles to strengthen the walls from inside and around 1700 tiles are needed for a four metre deep well. 

"In most wells water was found at a depth of 20 ft while at times it goes to 25 to 30 ft. Digging a well under the scheme will cost ₹20, 000. The cost will be around ₹45, 000 if assigned to private parties as wage will increase by Rs 800 per day.