Residents of Sangam Vihar ‘captured’ Delhi Jal Board tankers on Thursday and shouted slogans to protest irregular and inadequate water supply to the colony for the past four weeks.
The residents started their protest at 10am and blocked the way of the jal board tankers with their plastic cans. Their protest continued till 6pm despite the sweltering heat. Police had to be called to deal with the situation but the residents resisted the police who tried to remove the cans.
There were unconfirmed reports about a scuffle between the police and the residents. The police denied any such incident. A senior officer said the protesters had blocked a colony road and the cops removed the water cans.
Several areas in Sangam Vihar have no piped supply and completely depend on water tankers for their daily supply. Residents alleged that for the past many weeks, they were getting only 250 litres per week per family supply, which is highly inadequate.
The local residents ended their protest only after local AAP MLA Dinesh Mohaniya, who is vice-chairman of the Delhi Jal Board, reached the spot and assured the people. On his assurance, the residents let the tankers go.
Mohaniya blamed some local leaders for inciting the people and said the issue was being politicised despite the fact that the government was trying all possible ways to ensure water supply to the area.
Earlier, a group of protesters had gone to Mohaniya’s office in the afternoon but they could not meet him.
Ravi Kumar, a local resident, said, “The DJB is giving only 250 litres water to a family that too once in a week. During peak summer, the frequency of tankers has also reduced.”
Residents alleged that the water meant for free distribution in the area is being sold. “They are charging R1,000 for a tanker,” said a resident.
Prateek Gupta, another resident, said little development has taken place to ensure piped water supply to the area. “The water pipelines laid earlier are catering to a few lanes, while in most of the area taps are running dry.”
In March, the DJB had approved a plan to install 180 km water pipeline in Sangam Vihar. However, the work is yet to start.
Mohaniya said the project is on the track and tenders will be floated soon. “We are serious about resolving the water crisis but residents need to be patient. We recently laid temporary water pipelines here and supplying water in the area covering 70% population. We are looking into the issue.”