The Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Nagar areas, around Powai witnessed a major water shortage for over two weeks, an estimated 300-400 families have been affected by the sudden disruption in supply. This development comes at a time when the entire country is on lockdown causing a significant hassle to civic life. However, a lack of an adequate water supply is only one of the issues plaguing the residents from Phule Nagar, most of whom come from socio-economically impoverished households. Essential goods and services, rations and other relevant supplies are also not available to them, making sustainability a major problem for the people living there.
Speaking to ‘The Watchdog News’ about these developments, Corporator Jagruti Patilsaid, “I have notified the BMC officials about the issue, they are working on resolving it. Infact officials from the S Ward Hydraulics department had come to area today to check water pressure. The BMC will be carrying out drilling operations soon.” Residents of Phule Nagar have also complained about the lack of consistency in water timing. Officially the area is supposed to receive water between 12 pm to 4 pm. However in reality, water supply is only available between 12:30 pm to 2:30 pm. Then again for five minutes at 3:30 pm on some days while the area faces a complete lack of water supply on most days.
Another challenge plaguing residents of the area is the lack of effective social distancing while collecting water. Speaking about this, a journalist living in the area has said, “Tensions are extremely high owing to the lack of water supply and other essential goods. Households have seen a significant scarcity of water for days, so everyone tries to jump ahead one another during the short window during which they can collect water. This leads to conflict, resulting to into arguments and fights over who gets water. The sheer desperation of making sure one gets water for their homes makes most residents standing in the water queue throw caution out the window, jeopardising the safety of the overall community,” added the reporter.
16 April 2020: BMC Officials Arrive at Powai’s Phule Nagar to Tackle Water Shortage
Officials from the BMC Hydraulics Department took notice to the aforementioned and initiated measures to remedy the dire situation in the slum establishment. BMC officials arrived at around 12:30 pm on Thursday to check for water pressure and begin drilling procedures to ensure the flow of water.
When asked by ‘The Watchdog News’ about the purpose of their visit, a BMC official from the Hydraulics department said, “We are here to resolve challenges faced by the residents living here, our department is currently looking into short term solutions to remedy this issue so that residents do not face problems during this lockdown. We are looking into potential long-term solutions such that a dire situation like this does not arise in the future.”
Kaushik Patil, a representative of the Ward 116 corporator, was also present at the scene, where he promised to resolve the issue speedily. “I promise to ensure that this issue is resolved efficiently, such that such a situation does not plague residents from our constituency ever again. Rest assured, the issue of water shortage will be resolved shortly.”
However, despite the reassurances given by the officials, residents of Phule Nagar were not convinced and highlighted their plight to this correspondent. “We have not received water for over three weeks as a result of the lockdown. This has put a great strain on our day to day domestic chores. We have not received adequate drinking water for days now,” said Mathura Madhukar Kharat, a resident. Devika Thakur, another resident, said, “We have repeatedly stated our daily challenges to officials from S Ward, to which they do listen and come over for inspection. However, despite, efforts from their end, our problems are not being resolved. We hope this time will be different.
“Water is a basic human necessity. We need it for everything ranging from cooking, bathing, sanitation to drinking. If we do not have adequate water supply than how will go on in daily life?” asked Ghanshyam Kanojia, another Phule Nagar resident. BMC officials are currently looking for the solutions to tackle this issue, with engineers from the Hydraulics department assessing the factors that resulted in creating this acute water shortage.
This is a developing story and will be updated