Lok Sabha elections 2019: In Chilla, water supply a pipe dream
Every morning, Deepa (40) and her family members stand in long queues, awaiting the Delhi Jal Board’s (DJB) water tankers — which arrive at the three designated spots in Chilla village — to stock the day’s supply of drinking water.
Sharing a boundary with the village is Mayur Vihar, a well-planned neighbourhood, where housing societies get regular piped water supply from the DJB.
Residents said that despite getting up their hopes of receiving piped water supply in 2014, when the village was adopted by east Delhi member of Parliament (MP) Mahesh Girri under the Centre’s Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana, nothing has changed.
The objective of the Centre’s initiative was to improve people’s quality of life, provide basic amenities, access to right and entitlements, and develop social and physical infrastructure. “It is a fight every morning to get an adequate supply of drinking water, especially in summer, as the requirement goes up. We were told that we will get a direct water supply. But till date, nothing has happened,” said Deepa, who runs a grocery store.
Girri said that pipelines have been laid in “75% of the village”, but residents continue to depend on tankers and private suppliers. “I had recommended the work of laying of water pipelines. Initially, we couldn’t get the work done for two years. But when the work was finally done, DJB, which is under the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government, is not supplying water,” said Girri.
Area MLA Raju Dhingan, however, alleged that the pipeline work was undertaken by him. “The Delhi government got the work done. We have made arrangements for drinking water for the area. There is regular tanker supply,” said Dhingan.
The village, Billu Bhati, a resident and landlord, says, is far from the concept of a ‘model village’ as envisaged by the Centre. With garbage strewn in the narrow lanes and vacant plots, Bhati says that the Central government’s Swachh Bharat scheme has been a complete failure.
“The civic agency staff don’t come here regularly. The entire area is dirty. Sewers overflow, especially during monsoon, and the civic agencies don’t collect the waste regularly. Is this what you call a model village?” he said.
Virendra Sachdeva, a BJP member from the area, said, “The sewers overflow as the main drain, which comes under the Delhi government, is not cleaned regularly, due to which there is backflow of sewage.”
Girri says that this is not a rural village. “I don’t have a rural village in my constituency. This village is completely urbanised, has multi-storeyed buildings and doesn’t fall under the criteria set by the rural development ministry. But still, I have got several works done. I got the community centre constructed in 2015, sanctioned Rs 1 crore for the chaupal and public toilet, which are now ready. Close to 1,700 people have benefited from the Mudra loan. I have got the work for construction of internal roads done, among other things,” said Girri.