Mumbai: Vakola Residents Demand Urgent Action After Contaminated Water Supply Continues For Over A Year

Mumbai: Vakola Residents Demand Urgent Action After Contaminated Water Supply Continues For Over A Year

Residents face skin diseases and illnesses due to contaminated water.

RUCHA KANOLKARUpdated: Tuesday, January 30, 2024, 02:11 AM IST
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Mumbai: Vakola Residents Demand Urgent Action After Contaminated Water Supply Continues For Over A Year | Representational Image

Mumbai, known for its hustle and bustle, is currently grappling with a severe water crisis. Vakola in Santacruz has been at the forefront of a year-long battle for clean water. Residents consistently report receiving contaminated water daily, raising health concerns. Despite three protests, the situation remains dire, prompting locals to question authorities' understanding of their predicament.

Vakola residents lack access to potable water

Situated near Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Airport, Vakola residents lack access to potable water. Contaminated water has been flowing into Vakola for over a year, with the number of polluted water channels increasing. Despite new channel construction, promised clean water is yet to materialise.

Affected areas include Santa Cruz's ward no. 89, comprising Gaondevi, Milind Nagar, Waghriwada, Lalbahadur Shastrinagar, D'mello Compound, Subramaniamnagar, and Navjeevan.

Vakola's Mithi River now serves as drain

The Mithi River, originating in Vakola, now serves as a drain, polluted by garbage, plastic, and sewage. Municipal water channels passing through this river have developed holes and cracks, mixing tainted water with household supplies.

Residents, desperate for a solution, installed additional water pipes hoping for clean water access. However, taps remain dry, leaving them with water bills as a reminder of their ordeal. Locals express anguish over washing utensils and cooking with contaminated water, finding onion and tomato skins in their tap water. The water quality is so compromised that bathing in it is considered unsafe.

Leaders should address drinking contaminated water if they seek votes

Frustrated by the lack of attention from political figures outside of election seasons, residents assert that leaders should address drinking contaminated water if they seek votes.

Sukanya Sawant from Waghriwada said, “Our kids are always falling sick due to this contaminated water. We've requested the ward office to resolve this issue, but received no response.”

Santosh Upralkar from D'mello Compound echoed the frustration, “We've reported this issue more than five times and protested thrice, yet no solution. Officers are busy with corruption and have no time for their real job.”

Residents facing skin and other diseases

The year-long ordeal resulted in residents facing skin diseases and illnesses due to contaminated water. Financial constraints force many to buy water cans, burdening the financially weak community.

Despite promises, the proposed 150 mm diameter, 300-meter-long MDPE pipeline near the airport wall and the initiation of two water channels remain unfulfilled. Mumbai Municipal Corporation's assurance to start work on an underground tank and water supply through a pump is yet to materialise, leaving residents skeptical.

The area faces challenges such as a 100 percent slum population, illegal connections, outdated water lines, and clogged drainage in the Mithi River. Efforts to change water pipelines are hindered by narrow lanes and illegal connections.

Sudhir Jadhav, an Assistant Engineer at Water Works, acknowledged challenges, “The area where issues occur is a slum, making it difficult to reach. Yet, we're trying our best to solve this long-pending issue.” He assured that approved water connection proposals and steps by the construction department are underway to address Vakola residents' concerns.

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