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City slums worst-hit by water scarcity

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Hyderabad: With major source of drinking water supply to the Greater Hyderabad Metropolitan Area going dry, people living in 200-odd slum areas are facing acute drinking water shortage. Taps do not run in these slums as infrastructure is very poor. Unable to buy water tankers, and paid supplies of precious water through cans, these people are left parched. Though GHMC has been supplying water sometimes through tankers in some areas near Gosha Mahal, Abids and Uppal, by and large it has been erratic.

“Residents in the Greater Hyderabad zone are not catered to, is a stark reality,” said Biju Menon, director of Organisation for Rural Development, an NGO working in the area of clean water supply to slum-dwellers in urban conglomerations. Traditionally, the city has been drawing water from Singur, Manjira and Osmansagar tanks. But these sources have totally dried up due to erratic monsoon and El Nino effect. Now, the only source for the city to quench its thirst is the long distance water supply from Krishna and Godavari rivers, said Rukma Reddy, a retired engineer who worked in the medium irrigation works for the past three decades.

As per the survey conducted by the NGO on the existence of slum-dwellers in the heart of Hyderabad city, most slums are concentrated in the Central Zone which has the most – 33 slums – in its area, with about 10 within Musheerabad. This is followed by the West Zone, which has about 18 slums in areas like Serilingampally, Kukatpally and Patancheru. The East Zone has five slums, South Zone has nine and North Zone has seven slums.

Of the 72 slums, more than 26 are on government land, 25 are partly owned by the government and private bodies and five are on encroached land. “It is not possible to make policies without having proper data of the slum population. Every time there is a new policy, we have to re-consider the beneficiaries and this is creating confusion,” said a GHMC official.

For instance, in the Bahadurpura Assembly constituency, Yousuf Gulshan Colony, Roshan Colony, Farooq Nagar, Fathima Nagar and Mustafa Nagar and other areas survive on tanker water. Each slum has around 1,200 families living in pitiable conditions. The Water Board, during the survey, identified a few more ill-served slums in Chandrayangutta (Kalikanagar, Narahari Nagar, Muriki Nagar) Shalivahan Nagar, Siri Purani Colony in Malakpet, Bhojagutta and Indira Nagar in Karwan, Krishna Nagar in Amberpet, and Mangooroni Basthi and Azad Chandrasekhara Nagar in Secunderabad Assembly constituencies.

“Though the Water Board had laid pipelines, these localities are not getting supply as most of them are either tail-end areas or on hilltops. We categorised them under ‘unserved’ slum areas. After Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao announced tap connection to every household, the survey identified that 25 slum areas would not get tap connections,” sources in the HMWS&SB said.

However, it is learnt that instructions were given to general managers to submit feasibility reports on the ‘unserved’ slum areas and provide infrastructure like new service reservoirs, extend trunk mains and distribution network to fulfil the government’s promise to provide tap connection to every household, an official said. Similarly, a proposal to improve network in villages located within the Outer Ring Road (ORR) would be implemented soon, he added.

Courtesy: Metro India

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