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Water woes in winter a regular affair for Delhi's slums

NEW DELHI: With temperature dropping steeply in the national Capital, many residents in Delhi's slums are suffering from huge water crisis, due to irregular water supplies by Delhi Jal Board (DJB) and dearth of water tankers.
While DJB officials refused to comment on the issue, officials of the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) officials said that the problem is more than a year old.
"Water supply has become really bad, as in the evening Jal Board water does not come regularly. Every year this happens in the winter," said Nazma Begum of Bhalswa slum, adding that water tankers do not come regularly in the winter and come twice a week only after repeated urges to DJB.
Bhalaswa, a slum with a population of around 20,000, starts facing a water crisis from mid-November.
"We store water whenever it comes or else we buy it. But that is very costly for us," Nazma adds.
Dalit Ekta camp, located next to the relatively posh Vasant Kunj, is facing the same problem. To combat the situation, residents in the camp have installed extra tanks and water pumps.
"We have built a community tank, which we use for our water needs, whenever we face a crisis," says Satish Kumar, a resident of the camp.
He added that cleanliness of the tank is questionable, as is the safety level of the water it contains.
"Many people suffer from many diseases due to the poor quality of water. We have urged the DJB many times, but they seldom respond," Kumar said.
Another slum opposite to the posh colony of south Delhi's Vasant Vihar faces a similar struggle. This slum does not even get support from DJB, as they have an installed water pipeline.
However, that barely solves their water woes, as the quality of the pipeline water does not match the safety standards prescribed by DJB.
"Doctors of the dispensary have asked us not to drink the water. We buy water at Rs 20 per pack, but it becomes very costly for us," said Rukhma, a resident of the slum.
According to the slums residents, water tankers are also very irregular and provide bad quality water in winter.
"These are not new problems. We know that water supply gets disrupted in the winter. The DJB and DUSIB are working together to change this condition. We have achieved a lot. However, the problem still exists," said a senior official of DUSIB.

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