An elderly man died of cardiac arrest trying to resolve a fight in the family over dry taps in Shalimar Bagh on Saturday. And in Mukherjee Nagar, three students were beaten up and thrown out by their landlord when they tried to turn on a tap to wash utensils.
These are only two examples of what the water crisis — that Delhi is battling for the past fortnight — is doing to its people. They are getting angry and desperate. And this is just the beginning of summer. Areas of west, south-west, north, north-west and outer Delhi areas have not received water since last week.
The staff of the Delhi Jal Board (DJB), which supplies drinking water to the city, also got a taste of the anger over the weekend. Residents of south-west Delhi gathered at a DJB complaint centre on Saturday and heckled the staff for failing to supply water tankers despite logging their complaints.
Police say they are used to fights over water; it has become a habit for a city heavily dependent on other states for supply. Rajan Bhagat, Delhi Police spokesman, said during summer months a chunk of PCR calls are related to disputes over water.
The current water crisis is being blamed on Haryana. Arun Mathur, DJB chief executive officer, said, “The crisis was triggered after Haryana diverted the water coming to Delhi to a parallel canal. As a result production was affected at our treatment plants, which affected supply. We have taken up the matter with Haryana and expect the situation to normalise by Wednesday.”
With peak summers ahead, the water situation is likely to worsen further. Delhi is completely at the mercy of neighbouring states like Uttar Pradesh and Haryana to meet its water requirement. Whenever these states disrupt supply —which happens quite often during summer as they have to attend to their agricultural needs — Delhi suffers.