In some areas, people fork out up to Rs. 1,000 a month for barely potable water

In Tilaknagar, residents leave their taps open for at least half an hour before they start filling their pots and buckets. For the first few minutes the taps in this area spew deep yellow sewage water. Transparent water begins to flow only later. This water too is not necessarily potable. Despite this, the residents are forced to shell out around Rs. 500 per month for water in addition to rent. In G.M. Palya, off Suranjandas Road, residents are particularly desperate for water and are dependent on private suppliers.

Although, politicians here compete with each other to supply free water through tankers, this is barely enough. It is not uncommon for vicious brawls to break out between residents when these free tankers arrive.

Mohammed Muneer, a resident here, says his family has stopped going to collect water during these free distributions. “It is demeaning,” he says. According to him, the price of water has risen more sharply than the rents in the area.

For a 400-sq ft dwelling, he paid Rs. 1,000 as rent three years ago, which has gone up to Rs. 1,500 now. On the other hand, he used to pay Rs. 200-Rs. 300 for water every month. “Now, we spend almost Rs. 1,000 a month during summer,” he claims.

When respondents were asked to mention the one civic amenity that they would like to have, a large number said that they would prefer clean and regular water supply over paved roads, better sanitation and street lighting.

Cutting across the class barrier, nearly 70 per cent of those surveyed said that above all else they would like to have regular supply of clean water.

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