The Capital today went without water as 10,000 workers of the Delhi Water Supply and Sewage Disposal Undertaking, owing allegiance to Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, went on strike on a call given by their unions. They are demanding a pay hike and better working conditions. Despite th e police alert on the impending strike following the failure of talks in the evening, the workers managed to paralyse the water supply network a little after midnight by causing considerable damage to supply lines. Additional Chief Engineer (Water), J D’cruz, said: “if there is no sabotage to my lines the supply would be fully restored by 9:30 p.m.” Municipal officials, however, said they apprehended large-scale acts of sabotage by “desperate” striking workers.
With the exit of one cabinet minister, two ministers of state, and four more Lok Sabha members, the Janata crisis remains unabated. The party’s strength has come down to 249 in the 539-member Lok Sabha. More resignations, including Charan Singh’s, are expected in a day or so. However, there was optimism in Morarji Desai’s camp. The Jana Sangh members seemed confident and the Socialists appeared certain after George Fernandes’ speech in the Lok Sabha that not more than a handful would go to the other side.
A burning object, suspected to be part of the American spacecraft Skylab which met with a fiery end on its return to earth, fell at Elapakkam village in Chengalpattu district last night, according to multiple reports received in Madras. The black, lemon-sized object fell in an orchard around the same time Skylab reportedly re-entered the earth’s atmosphere. The reports quoted villagers as saying a cow which was nearby when the object fell was blinded. Official sources, however, said a veterinary doctor who examined the cow said there was no connection between the fall of the object and the blinding of the cow.