Khoda residents on indefinite hunger strike demanding tapped water supply
Only 25-26 water tankers bring drinking water to Khoda currently and these are hardly enough to meet the demand of 45,000 households, residents said
A group of residents of Khoda are on an indefinite huger strike since November 9, demanding tapped water supply and provision of clean Ganga water to households in the locality.
The Khoda locality is a nagar palika (municipal council) in Ghaziabad district and has about 45,000 households in 35 residential wards. According to official estimates, the daily drinking water requirement of Khoda is about 10 cusecs.
The members of Khoda residents’ association on November 9 decided to go on an indefinite hunger strike to press their demand for tapped Ganga water supply along the lines of supply to other localities in trans-Hindon areas.
The protesters said they have been let down by public representatives over the past almost three decades and will continue with their hunger protest to highlight the issue even if it leads to health problems.
“Since November 9, we have spent our days in a tent. Our indefinite huger strike will continue. We first raised a demand for tapped water supply and Ganga water in 2018. However, no official or public representative visited us so far. The politicians have won various elections from Khoda and garnered votes on promises of giving us tapped water supply but nothing has happened on the ground,” said Deepak Joshi, president of the association.
In April this year, the municipal council enlisted the services of 70 water tankers to ferry water from Ganga water treatment plants in Pratap Vihar to Khoda.
“Only 25-26 of these tankers are in operation currently and these are hardly enough to meet the demand of 45,000 households. Residents are fed up with promises. They are dependent of groundwater and it has receded to 500-1,000 feet below ground in different areas.This is a huge dent on groundwater resources. It seems Khoda residents are seen only as a vote bank,” Joshi said.
Amarchand Thekedar, another protester, said, “We will continue with the hunger strike and the future course of action will be decided later. The residents are angry as they have to rely on private water tankers which supply 1,000 litres of water at a rate of ₹300. Still, the water we get is not fit for drinking owing to garbage dumps nearby, which cause leaching into the ground.”
The project to get 70 new water tankers cost about ₹3 crore and funds were drawn from the Fifteenth Finance Commission.
Shalini Gupta, the executive officer of Khoda Nagar Palika did not respond to repeated calls for comment.
“A project to supply Ganga water to Khoda is under consideration but it requires availability of land there. Since land is not available, we are scouting for it outside Khoda. The project requires major investment and will take time. In the meantime, the water tankers are providing drinking water to residents,” said Vinay Kumar Singh, subdivisional magistrate.