Contaminated water supply is a major cause of health hazards, especially in unplanned colonies in Delhi. For some buying bottled water is eating into family income while for others medical bill are only mounting. Delhi Jal Board’s apathy remains a common thread.
Bhalswa re-settlement colony
With no provision of DJB supply at the Shraddhanand Colony in Bhalswa, regular fights erupt among residents when the tanker reaches them once a week. For other usage, almost every house has a hand pump. And that’s where the problem begins.
“I’ve already been operated twice due to complications arising out of water contamination. We had to sell our house to pay the R2-lakh hospital bill,” says Shehnaz Begum, who spends R900, or 13% of her family income on bottled water every month.
“Toxic chemicals seeping into the groundwater due to the nearby Bhalswa landfill site have rendered groundwater unfit for use. Since groundwater is the major source of water supply here, water-related diseases have become a norm,” said Manmohan Singh of NGO Lok Shakti Manch.
Water woes of the residents of Dawai Tola and Chatta Sheeshawallah Lane go back almost a decade. Despite paying their bills to the water utility, they are hard-pressed for piped water. And areas where supply is better the quality of water is not suitable for drinking.
“We get water only once a day at around 5 am, that too only for 15-20 minutes. It is very dirty to say the least,” said Mushtaq Ali, 65.
“The pipeline is corrugated and is never maintained by the DJB. We have complained many a times to different authorities but no action has been taken,” said Wasi Khan, a father of two school-going children.
Sangam Park, near Rana Pratap Bagh
It is almost impossible for residents to stay indoors when municipal water reaches them twice a day. The water, jet black in colour, has an unbearable stench. “Drinking water is mixing with sewer which we are forced to use toilet, bathing and cleaning purposes,” said Hardeep Singh.
“Diseases such as skin infection, diarrhoea and stomach-ache have become common,” he added.