BIJAPUR: Slum dwellers, most of them women, on Wednesday staged a demonstration by carrying empty vessels, demanding that they be given a regular supply of drinking water. The protest was organised by the Centre for Informal Education, the Federation of Women Self-help Groups, the Bijapur Slum Abhivriddhi Samithi and FEDINA.
The protesters gathered in large numbers on Siddeshwar Road near Siddeshwar temple and took out a procession on the main streets, disrupting traffic in the area for over two hours. They also formed a human chain at Gandhi Chowk.
The leaders of the protest, including Father Arun Luis, Ambavva Sindhe, Akram Mashalkar and Prabhugouda Patil, said that slum dwellers were getting water only twice a month, while others were getting a supply at least five to six days a week.
They said that even the water supply they got was highly inadequate.
Slum dwellers also did not have access to underground or overhead tanks for storage of water, and had to rely on their vessels.
As their huts were mostly single-room, they did not have enough place in which to keep pots of water. The open storage of water in pots was also leading to the outbreak of epidemic diseases among them, they said.
The protest leaders accused the municipal authorities and contractors of meting out inhuman treatment to sanitation workers, most of whom were women. The women were made to start work at early hours, and the working conditions were also unsafe.
They were not supplied with hand-gloves and dust-filtering masks. There were also anomalies in the system of wage distribution to them. The leaders of the protest also criticised the authorities for not taking steps to prevent the display of obscene film posters in the city, which, they said, was affecting the morals of the younger generation.