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For Residents of Govindpuri Basti Struggling With Water Woes, Delhi Election Offers No Panacea

Since its inception forty years ago, the people living in the bastis of Bhumin Camp, Navjeevan Camp and Nehru Camp in the heart of the National Capital, have been aching for every single drop of water.

Runjhun Sharma | CNN-News18

Updated:May 9, 2019, 2:08 PM IST
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New Delhi: The women, men and children of the Bhumin Camp basti in South Delhi wake up to a new battle every day. The routine is fixed. Weighed under a mountain of plastic buckets and flashy coloured mugs, the residents wait for the lone water tanker that reaches them.

When the Delhi Jal Board’s tanker finally arrives, a riot-type situation breaks lose. There is jostling, pushing and sometimes even a few fights, but at the end of it all – not everyone is lucky enough to go back home with water.

Fraught with these daily struggles, it’s disillusionment that’s written on the faces of the people of Govindpuri Bastis, as they prepare to cast their votes on Sunday.

Since its inception forty years ago, the people living in the bastis of Bhumin Camp, Navjeevan Camp and Nehru Camp in the heart of the National Capital, have been aching for every single drop of water.

'We've been living here since Indira Gandhi died. We were aching for water then, we are aching water now. Nothing has changed. The population keeps increasing and one water tanker doesn't suffice, Nazma Khatoon, a resident, tells News18.

Their only other option is a tube well located in the region that is meant to cater to the water requirements of all the three bastis.

However, the pipelines that supply water from the tube well were installed almost 20 years ago, bringing very little water and that too, only for an hour. Moreover, these rotten, spluttering pipelines spout into the filthy drains of the city.

water-crisis

'We don't have an option but to fill water from these pipelines in drains. Many times, filthy, insects and dirty gets into the water. This is the water we use to clean, bathe and drink,” says Sumana Devi.

Like Sumana Devi, about 40,000 others living in and around these colonies drink this water every day. The children in the area often fall ill and so do the adults. They are helpless, as filtered water is a luxury they cannot afford.

“A joint letter signed by the entire community was sent to Avtar Singh, the local AAP MLA of the area multiple times. We have also gone and met the leaders but there has not been any solution,” says Iqbal, who lives in one of these shanties.

As Delhi goes to the polls on Sunday in the staggering seven-phased Lok Sabha elections, these bastis are draped in the election colour. There are banners, posters, topis all around.

Much of this paraphernalia is plastered right above the drains from which the people drink out from. Oblivious to these harsh realities, the children here sport party badges distributed to them as toys.

(Get detailed and live results of each and every seat in the Lok Sabha elections and state Assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim to know which candidate/party is leading or trailing and to know who has won and who has lost and by what margin. Our one-of-its-kind Election Analytics Centre lets you don a psephologist’s hat and turn into an election expert. Know interesting facts and trivia about the elections and see our informative graphics. Elections = News18)
| Edited by: Zoya Mateen
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