Corporator Parmeshwar Kadam will not walk barefoot anymore after August 18. Kadam had promised after the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation elections in February that he would not put on any footwear till the residents of Kamraj Nagar in Ghatkopar got water. The BMC installed an additional pipeline in the area last month.
For the last 20 years, Kamraj Nagar, a slum area with a population of one lakh had no water supply. Approximately 75,000 people, who lived there, had to get water from more than 7 km distance.
Persistent complaints and rallies did not have any effect. Finally, after the civic elections, Parmeshwar gave up wearing footwear. “My husband went through tremendous pain all these days as his leg used to be swollen most of the time,” said Kadam’s wife, Mangala. He used to take painkillers everyday, she added.
It had become a weekly routine to visit a doctor to take the tetanus injection. “But the pain drove me to work hard and speed up the work,” Parmeshwar said. Following his mentor, heads of the local MNS unit Santosh Pingle also gave up wearing footwear. “I am relieved our efforts have finally paid off,” said Pingle.
Vanita Shinde, a resident of the area said: “this is the first time in my life I am seeing water dripping from my tap,” she said.
From the time she came as a bride, Shinde had never seen water trickling from the tap.
Many students dropped out of school as they used to get water for their homes and did not have time to study. Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) president Raj Thackeray will grace a function on August 18,where Kadam will don his footwear.