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Mumbai: Pockets in Western suburbs getting filthy water in taps

Updated on: 10 July,2024 07:08 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Vinod Kumar Menon |

Civic officials found water flowing from taps at Bhoomi Park Complex in Malad West to be unfit for drinking; residents of Meghibai Chawl, Sahar, have also been receiving contaminated water

Mumbai: Pockets in Western suburbs getting filthy water in taps

Residents of Meghibai Chawl, Sahar village, receive contaminated water for the first two hours of the daily 3-hour water supply

A few localities in the Western suburbs have been facing water contamination since the last many weeks and residents fear the recent heavy downpour may worsen the situation. A large housing complex in Malad has been receiving filthy water. The residents have been relying on bottled water after some children and elderly members fell sick. Similar is the situation in Sahar village, where locals are forced to drink bottled water and in both cases, the corporation has failed to fix the issue.

Contaminated, filthy water

For the last many weeks, Bhoomi Park Complex, a large housing complex with a population of over 4,500 and its neighbourhood in Jankalyan Nagar, Malad West have been getting contaminated water with an awful smell. Even as the water samples collected on July 4 from the society were found to be unfit for portable purposes the local ward office has not been able to stop the contamination. Chairman of Bhoomi Park Advance Locality Management (ALM) Prakash Aranha said, “The situation has become grim with every passing day as approximately 50 people, including some kids and elderly members, have fallen sick due to the water contamination. The residents have made numerous complaints to the local P North ward of BMC but they have failed to fix the issue.”

BMC officials visited Bhoomi Park Complex in Malad West to collect water samples
BMC officials visited Bhoomi Park Complex in Malad West to collect water samples

E-coli in sample

Giving reference to his previous letter of June 19, regarding water contamination in P North ward, local MLA Yogesh Sagar again wrote (copy with this paper) to assistant municipal commissioner Kiran Dighavkar on June 29. MLA Sagar had cited the test report of water drawn from pipeline supply to a nearby school which revealed the presence of E. coli bacteria. The MLA had claimed spurt in the incidence of fever, diarrhoea, nausea, etc., among all ages. The affected areas include residential, commercial and numerous schools and hospitals, the MLA informed the BMC.

According to Aranha, the local ward officials have been sending their team to detect the source of contamination, though BMC claimed that some of the contamination has been fixed but the same was not officially communicated to the residents. The BMC officials from the departments of water and health came to collect the water samples from our complex on July 4. Meanwhile, the residents have been using chlorine tablets to disinfect the water. Aranha ruled out the possibility of the source of the water contamination in the complex premises as there has been no water logging. The storm water drains in the complex are clear and their Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) is completely separate from the main water pipelines.

The other side

Dr Kalpesh Bhalerao, Health Officer, P North ward said, “My team visited Bhoomi Park complex and found that the water sample collected was unfit for potable purposes. We have already submitted our report to the water department for taking necessary action. They will detect the source of contamination and will fix it. The water will be tested again after the water department informs us of resolving the problem.”

Residents of Meghibai Chawl, Sahar village, have been receiving contaminated water for the last few months
Residents of Meghibai Chawl, Sahar village, have been receiving contaminated water for the last few months

Dr Bhalerao said that they have received one more complaint of water contamination from a society close to Bhoomi Park on July 9. “Our team will visit and collect water samples on Wednesday and we will conduct similar tests and accordingly intimate the water department,” said Dr Bhalerao. He said that besides using chlorine tablets, those receiving contaminated water may also boil the water for minimum twenty minutes, which is the safest method to kill the bacteria. When asked if boiling will also help to remove stench from the water, Dr Bhalerao replied in the negative, “Water with foul smell should not be used for any potable purpose even after boiling.”

At Sahar village...

Meghibai Chawl, Sahar village, with 300 to 350 houses and a population of over 2,000, has been receiving contaminated water for the last few months. Numerous complaints made to the local K East ward have fallen on deaf ears, as the water department has failed to resolve the issue.

Ramkrishna Ambekar, 68, residing with his family of ten in Meghibai Chawl for the last four decades, said, “It happened suddenly, the water in our taps turned muddy with a foul stench making it completely unfit.” Ambekar said they get the municipal water between 5 am to 8 am daily. “For the two hours the water flowing from the taps will be contaminated, while we get usable water for only one hour,” he said.  

Ambekar said, “Those working have to leave early in the morning and it becomes difficult for us as at times the water is unfit for bathing or washing purposes. With children and elderly members at home, residents can’t take the risk of using contaminated water.  We have to rely heavily on bottled water which again impacts our monthly budget.” He said even boiling the water doesn’t help to get rid of the stench. 

Residents threaten morcha

Ramesh Satam, 69, said, “I have been staying in this chawl for over three decades, and we never had such a problem ever before. Our pleas are not taken seriously by the local ward officials who claim that they are unable to detect the source of our problem. We are now contemplating to plan a morcha of our local residents to the ward office, if they fail to fix the problem soon.”

AMC K East Ward speaks

Manish Valunj, assistant municipal commissioner of K East ward, said, “We have addressed their issue already, last week our water department staff found a leak in the main water supply line to their area and we have fixed the issue. The contamination has stopped.”However, when mid-day told Valunj that the residents were still receiving contaminated water, he said that he will get in touch with the complainants and assured to get the same resolved at the earliest.

Conduct door-to-door survey

Advocate Godfrey Pimenta, trustee of Watchdog Foundation, has been approached by Aranha and even residents of Sahar, seeking assistance, he said, “The current heavy monsoon spell in Mumbai is likely to bring additional challenges for Mumbaikars. To mitigate these risks, BMC should conduct door-to-door surveys to curb the spread of waterborne diseases.”

No of residents in Malad society getting bad water

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