A video doing the rounds on social media, purportedly showing women residents of south Delhi’s Mahipalpur village attacking each other after a row over sharing water, caught the attention of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Sunday.
Kejriwal tweeted a media report about the incident and asked Water Minister Kapil Mishra to visit the area, find out what caused the fight and report to him.
According to residents of Mahipalpur, the area has experienced acute water shortage for years. They alleged that while Delhi Jal Board’s (DJB’s) tankers do come to the area, most of them catered to only to a few houses while a single tanker supplied water to the rest of the village.
Aagadamma, a resident of Gali no. 6 off Labour Chowk, said, “Tankers come to this area only once a week. Most of them provide water to specific houses. On Tuesday, when our tanker comes, the residents of all the lanes in the village gather around it to collect water. The fight started because some of the residents, of houses which get water regularly from tankers, came to collect water from the other tanker.”
Many residents blamed Chandra Sharma, a local resident who, according to them, had several tenants living in her house.
“There is a clear discrepancy in the distribution of water here. There is one tanker for the the entire area, while Sharma’s house and some other houses, whose owners have connections with politicians and police officers, get water from the other tankers,” said Raju, a local resident.
However, Sharma said, “We pay our water bills regularly while many of the other residents do not. Why shouldn’t we get water from the tanker? I and those staying with me are being needlessly targetted.”
Water Minister Kapil Mishra, who visited the area Sunday, was told by several residents that the water from DJB tankers was not sufficient and they had to pay “private sources” for more water.
Kapil Mishra told The Indian Express that the two problems in the area were the “selective distribution” of water by DJB tankers and the illegal water connections in the area.
After visiting the area, Mishra wrote a detailed letter to the Chief Minister, saying he would soon ensure supply of piped water to the area in a time-bound manner and will also come up with a plan to curb “illegal sources” of water, without disrupting the existing water supply.
AAP MLA Devender Sherawat, who also visited the area, claimed that the number of tankers which came to the area had increased to four. “The article on the events that transpired was false. The issue here is not the lack of water, the problem is with the way it is being distributed,” he said.