In the vicinity of the famed ‘City of Lakes’ Bhopal, ironically lies a parched settlement that for years has been struggling for water.
As there is no source of water around, the locals of Ekta Nagar, a settlement in Sukhi Sewaniya, around 15km from the state capital, are forced to buy water from private tanker suppliers who reach the area in the morning and have to remain there for two-three hours.
The area is mostly built of daily wage workers and beggars who live in shanties and temporary houses.
The settlement which has a population of around 1,500 has been grappling with water supplies for almost 15 years. A couple of years ago, a water supply line was laid down in the area and locals were asked to pay Rs 2,000 each. The pipeline mostly supplies water in the monsoon and that too for only half an hour, claimed locals.
A woman native to the area said that mostly the pipe supply water remains muddy and dirty which is not fit for use.
Ram Kumar, a local resident, said that a bucket costs Rs 2 and they have to pay Rs 50-60 daily for sourcing water for daily purposes. He said the locals have informed authorities about their woes but no one listens to their plight.
An elderly woman said that they have no choice but to buy water from private tankers. As lockdown has crippled work, several of them can afford to buy water only once in two-three days and lessen the usage to survive with the limited quantity.
The daily wage workers who survive on odd jobs offered locally or in Bhopal are also struggling. Rakesh Kumar, a local youth, claimed that they have no work in the lockdown and managing families is difficult.
MP Human Rights Commission (MPHRC) had taken cognizance of media reports on the matter and issued a notice to CEO Zila Panchayat to reply within two weeks.
Bhopal MP Pragya Singh Thakur could not be reached for comments.
Chief Executive Officer, Zila Panchayat Bhopal, Vikas Mishra told News18 over the phone that he wasn’t aware of the issue and denied receiving the MPHRC notice. He, however, claimed that in coordination with the PHE department, the ZP office has sanctioned a project under Jal Jeevan mission for addressing water scarcity in the Sukhi Sevaniya area.
Water scarcity in MP
According to a 2019 report of the Urban Administration and Development department, 100 out of 378 urban localities of the state are facing water supply shortage. These urban areas were getting water supplied on alternate days. To add, several villages, urban and semi-urban areas report acute water shortage in the state every year during summer.