Water riots spread in India towns

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Sunday 9 April 2000

Water riots spread in Gujarat towns The Times of India News Service

RAJKOT: Water riots have started spreading in Saurashtra and Kutch, with heated arguments followed by stone-throwing becoming a regular feature. Attacks on civic staff in Bhavnagar, Dhoraji and Vichiya were reported on Saturday even as the local authorities were trying to come to terms with the water supply on alternate days in Rajkot city.

Crowds of residents have started coming out in the open with the state administration failing to supply adequate water. In Bhavnagar, frustrated residents took to the street and even resorted to stoning water tankers. Apparently, the Bhavnagar municipal corporation's filter plant has broken down, affecting water distribution on Friday and Saturday. Residents have been complaining of irregular supply or non-supply in a number of places for the past eight days.

In Dhoraji town, residents of ward number 10 attacked a team of civic body officials, including water works committee chairman Ashwin Vagashia. The team was taking the round of the city when the incident occurred. Area councillor Rameshbhai Ladani was injured in the attack and had to be shifted to hospital. A complaint has been lodged against 11 persons.

Rumblings have also started in Jetpur, where people have not received water for the past five days. As it was, the residents were receiving water every third day, but this time, the period was extended. Government authorities had agreed to supply 48 lakh litres of water from the Fofal dam, but it was never obtained.

A similar incident was also reported from Vichiya, when a group attacked 40-year-old gram panchayat staffer Savrat Popat Valani, who was checking the water distribution. As a result of this attack, the entire Vichiya gram panchayat staff resorted to a flash-strike. This further aggravated the situation with the entire water distribution and power supply coming to a standstill. The police have arrested two persons in this connection.


-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), April 08, 2000

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