NEW DELHI: Sangam Vihar, one of the biggest unauthorised colonies in the capital, is facing a major water crisis this summer. The scarcity of water is forcing many residents to use illegal borewells or a makeshift motor, often leading to disputes and even scuffles. On Thursday night, such a dispute killed a resident.
When TOI visited the colony, it found widespread use of private tankers, with the houses and the narrow lanes filled with small tanks to store water. Many houses actually have more water tanks than furniture.
The residents are miffed with the government. They claimed they had been victims of false promises made during the election campaigns. “People here keep fighting each other over water. It is normal, but people killing each other for drawing water is not acceptable. The government should do something about the crisis before another such incident takes place,” said Deepak Kumar, a resident.
Residents said they thought that Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) would be able to resolve the issues that no other government could; but their hope had been dashed now. The supply comes here once or twice in a month and, in dire times, residents have to use makeshift motors to draw water.
Gangaram, a resident of Sangam Vihar G-block, said “Now we feel hopeless even with AAP. The supply water comes once or twice in a month and we rely mostly on private tankers. They charge Rs 500-Rs 2,000 depending on the demand.” Residents even pay as much as Rs 1,500 for a small one, he added. Gyan Singh, another resident, said he had booked a tanker from Delhi Jal Board (DJB) on June 12 but had not received any response yet.
Residents claimed that in February, DJB vice-chairman Dinesh Mohaniya had assured them that the government would start work to lay pipelines. “Four months have passed but nothing has happened,” said Ishrat Khan, a resident.
Locals also pointed out that even the quality of the water that they get is really bad and excessive fluoride adds to their woes. The bottom of every tank in the colony has a layer of fluoride. “It is not fit for any purpose but we have no other option. For drinking, we buy water cans but for other purposes, we use supply water. People often get sick or complain about skin infection,” said resident Vijay Singh.
The DJB vice-chairman, however, claimed that the board had sanctioned a plan of Rs 95 crore for laying pipelines in Sangam Vihar but no work could be carried out as the Supreme Court had objected to the plan as the area came under the ridge area. “We are trying to find a solution. Right now, we are trying our best to supply water through borewells and tankers,” said Mohaniya.
Mohaniya said the issue could be regularised if SC allowed the work or the colony were regularised. “But right now, we are not able to do anything,” he added.