Ajay Vir Singh, 58, a resident of posh South Extension I in south Delhi, has been down with jaundice for the past 15 days.
His first-floor neighbour Dr Kamaljeet Kaur, 32, who is a dentist, is also down with jaundice for the past 20 days. Kaur is on intravenous fluids. Another neighbour Rakesh Singh (name changed on request), who is a government officer is down with diarrhoea. He hasn’t been to work for the past four days.
This spurt in infection is not restricted to one building alone. Apart from them, there are at least five more people in houses B-8 to B-11 in South Extension-I who are afflicted with jaundice.
The residents blame it on dirty water supply for the past six months. “The water is black in colour and smells of dead flesh. Despite regular complaints lodged with the Delhi Jal Board (DJB), both at the local and head office, no action has been taken,” said Singh.
“Water department engineers at Jal Vihar in Lajpat Nagar, Himanshu Aggarwal and Akbar Khan have been unable to solve the grievance. We have been making regular phone calls to the Jal board but they refuse to respond,” he alleged.
Kaur also said that all their complaints are being unheard. “For the past six months, people from our colony have made representations to complain about the foul water but to no avail,” she said.
“At least five people in our lane are afflicted with jaundice and 10 or more down with stomach upsets,” she said, adding, “Every time we turn our taps on, the water is of a different colour.” The residents are now forced buy water on a daily basis. Every 10- litre drinking water bottle costs about R100. “It is a daily expense of around Rs 300 on drinking
water apart from storage water that we buy from private tankers at R1,800 per tanker,” said Kaur.
The residents say that the emergency service of sending water tanks to poor water supply areas initiated by the DJB has been discontinued in their area. “The DJB officers say that their motor-fitted water tanks are broken since the last two months resulting in them sending us tanks where water has to be filled manually. It is not possible for us to fill our rooftop tanks placed at a height of second floor using buckets. Exploiting the situation, the motor-fitted private tankers are charging Rs 1,500-1,800 per tanker (6,000 litres),” said Singh.
DJB officials say they are not aware of the mess. “The residents should have approached senior officers if their problem has been persisting for so long. We will ensure clean water is supplied nonetheless,” said RK Garg, member, water works, DJB.