Crowds riot with police over water shortage in India : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

From India Times:

Delhi villagers, police clash over water shortage By A Staff Reporter

NEW DELHI: An acute scarcity of water sparked off a riot in the Rohtak Road area near the Delhi-Haryana border on Monday. About 15 persons, including three police officers, were injured and several vehicles damaged in the clash.

The water riot, the first in the Capital this year, took place after a group of about 500 people from the Tikri Kalan village in west Delhi blocked the highway for over four hours. Police finally lost patience and used force to remove them. The villagers then started throwing bricks.

The Capital has been reeling under heat wave conditions this month, with temperatures hovering between 40 and 43 degrees Celsius. A heat-wave death was also reported from northeast Delhi's Maujpur last week. Besides being at the tailend of the water distribution system, the village has now become a victim of politicking.

Tikri Kalan people, who began the blockade at 8 am, said their village had not received water for over two months, even though the Nangloi treatment plant had become functional after Haryana released 125 cusecs of water last week.

West district police chief Uday Sahay said the protesters numbered only 200 and turned violent. ``About 20 teargas shells were lobbed but the stone-throwing led to injuries to our men as well as the gathering,'' he said. Several Delhi Transport Corporation buses, trucks and passing cars were also damaged in the stone throwing.

Sahay put the number of injured at 11, most of whom were taken to the Sanjay Gandhi hospital. The injuries were mostly minor.

Witnesses said the protesters included a large number of women, who refused to move from the road unless senior civic officers visited the spot. However, no one heeded the request till Monday evening.

Jal Board chief engineer G C Nandwani said ``the pipes leading to the Tikri village were being cleaned and supply would be ensured in a couple of days.'' He, however, claimed the village had no shortage of potable water.

However, scores of village women were seen trudging long distances to fetch water being piped from a water tanker into an underground tank installed at a local politician's house. ``Many of us even go to neighbouring Bahadurgarh to fetch water,'' said Zile Singh, village pradhan for over 18 years. Tikri Kalan is the last village in Delhi en route to Bahadurgarh in Haryana.

The villagers also said they were upset that ``the adjoining Mundka and Hiran Kudna villages have started getting water, but our village has been ignored.''


-- meg davis (, May 30, 2000

Moderation questions? read the FAQ