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Not a drop to drink

Farmers in Maharashtra are facing a tough time due to the worst drought in the state’s history. But the repercussions are being borne by more than 200 families of the Ambedkar Nagar slum at Cuffe Parade. The families have been suffering because of the water shortage.


Women line up with pots and buckets to fill water at Ambedkar Nagar in Cuffe Parade. Pic/ Bipin Kokate  

The present scenario has peeved many residents further, as they have been deprived of a water connection by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation right since the slum was built. Though the slum is authorised, only residents of the area who moved here before 1995 are eligible to have a water connection as per the law.

This has wreaked havoc in the locals’ lives who have to shell out Rs 200 per month for five to six gallons for a day from those who have water connections. The residents, who are mostly daily wage labourers, have to spend anywhere between Rs 3-10 for every extra gallon of water apart from their monthly quota. The cost of these gallons varies according to the availability of water. Moreover, even those who have a water connection get water for only two hours every day.

But their condition has worsened since last week when they were compelled to pay R10 for every gallon of water. Nagina Gowda, a teacher and a resident of Ambedkar Nagar, said, “Since the past few days we have paid as high as R10 for every gallon of water. We have no option other than to accept the price being quoted. Our every attempt to reach the BMC authorities has been in vain as they do not take any action.”

Anita Yadav, the local corporator from the area, said, “The main problem is not availability of water but lack of a proper distribution system. Taps cannot be installed in every house but the BMC should come up with a solution wherein water is provided to the locals.”

An official from the civic body’s water department said, on condition of anonymity, “We are doing everything in our power to tackle this problem by buying tankers. The scarcity is because the water pressure is very low. As far as the distribution work is concerned no new lines can be provided unless, they are approved by law. This is the biggest hurdle.” 

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