In its 48-day stint, the Aam Aadmi Party Government in Delhi made several announcements on water supply. If residents of Sangam Vihar, who had been deprived of a fair share in the city’s water resources for long, are to be believed, the Arvind Kejriwal regime did manage to bring about “some improvement” during its short stay. With the AAP stepping down, the residents are left to wonder if their sense of relief was also short-lived.
One of the largest unauthorised colonies in Asia housing a population of around a million, Sangam Vihar had traditionally depended on a few hundred bore-wells for its water supply. The supply, as described by the residents, had always been “consistently inconsistent” with the periodicity in some pockets even being one refill in two months.
Anara Devi, an area resident, said that soon after the AAP formed the government, the supply became more frequent with water coming once in every 15 days. She described it as a welcome move but the one which obviously needed more improvement.
“Earlier, with the one bore-well for F-3 area that I live in, we would get supply once in two months and had to fill our utensils within the stipulated time. There has been some change in the periodicity and the duration. But even that is not adequate. I fear the fall of the government will jeopardise any forward move and we will be forced to relive the dark days. We had put our faith in the party and wanted them to continue,” she said.
A majority of the voters in Deoli and Sangam Vihar, which are home to unauthorised colonies and slums – had voted for the AAP as it had singled out water supply as the “biggest concern for the aam aadmi in Delhi”.
But the fact that the people needed more affirmative action on the issue was also exemplified by the incident when Sangam Vihar MLA Dinesh Mohaniya had an altercation with some women in his constituency when he had gone to assess the water supply problem.
Social worker Asha Mishra said the new regime had taken over 55 private bore-wells in the area and the amount the people had to shell out for a one-time supply had gone down considerably. However, even as they credit the party for its initiatives, the residents complained that it did not take any decision on its promise of connecting the area with a proper pipeline.