City observes water tragedy day
Fourteen years after 21 people died in Agra after drinking polluted water, the Taj Mahal city is struggling to provide good quality potable water to its residents.
On Monday, the city observed the Water Tragedy Day, calling for better and safer drinking water facilities.
On May 21, 1993, 21 people of Khateek Para and Mandi Sayeed Khan areas died after drinking water supplied by the local civic body that was later found to be highly polluted.
But even after so many years, neither the water supply has improved nor has any help been given to the victims' families.
Several meetings were organized in Agra on Monday to express anger against the government for failing to resolve the city's grim water crisis.
Residents of Khateek Para offered tributes to those who died in 1993 and waved black flags and wore black bands.
However, nothing much has been done to resolve Agra's grim water situation. The underground reserves are brackish and polluted.
"Most high rise buildings, including some big hotels, are directly pumping all the sewer and waste directly through a boring into the earth. This is poisoning our underground reserves," warned environmentalist Vinay Paliwal.
Agra is heavily dependent on the river Yamuna but government agencies have failed to prevent pollution of the river.
"The river water is pale yellow with high level of toxic wastes," according to Bankey Lal Maheshwari of Sri Nathji Nishulk Jal Sewa.
"In 14 years nothing has changed, neither the quality nor the quantity. The government has done nothing to help the families whose members died years back," said Tajendra Rajaura, a resident of Khateek Para area.
"Perhaps they are waiting for another tragedy," remarked Surendra Sharma of Braj Mandal Heritage Conservation Society.