For the second time this month, Akhtari Beghum, a resident of Batla House, had to go to the nearby Abidin Medical Center after her son Rehaan complained of stomach ache. The doctor prescribed medicines for stomach infection. Only a week back the same medicines had been prescribed. The infection had barely gone away before it came back much fiercer. There are many more Akhtari Beghum’s and Rehaan’s in the Batla House area of New Delhi.
According to Dr. Maroof who is a general practitioner in the area, many cases of patients, with diseases which are water borne, are reported on a regular basis. “We do not have the capability to treat people with serious diseases here, we refer them to the holy family hospital” Dr. Maroof said. The problem of contamination of drinking water is arising due to bad sewerage in the area. The water from the sewage pipes overflows due to high load and regular blockage in these pipes. Water starts oozing out into the roads and often gets mixed with the drinking water as both pipes are often laid close to each other.
Rafi Khan, a resident of the area and a member of the Khalilullah Residents Welfare Association (KRWA) says that the pipes have been laid out more than ten years back, according to the requirements of that time, today the population of the area has greatly increased and the pipes do not have the capacity to drain out all the water. In the times of rain the troubles are only multiplied. [ Nayeem Sahab jo KRWA ke president hain, unhone bohat complaints darj kii hain lekin koi kuch nahi karta ] “Nayeem sahab who is the president of KRWA has filed many complaints but no one does anything about it”, said Rafi Khan. He added that the problem cannot be solved by the residents by contributing money, but should be resolved by the authorities whose job is to provide basic facilities to the people.
Apart from mixing of the sewage and drinking water, at many places the Drainage pipes lay open and are a breeding ground for mosquitoes and diseases, adding to the woes of the residents. At many places the water seeps into underground electric pipes and poses a threat of electrocution to anyone who steps into the water. The local Congress Councillor Shoaeb Danish said that problem was not with the administration as Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and Delhi Jal board were well aware of the problem, but cannot act since parts of the area are not fully authorized yet.
In 2010, Archeological Survey of India (ASI) informed the ministry of Urban Development, Government of Delhi about its decision to provide a No Objection certificate (NOC) to 13 adjacent colonies. But the area of Batla House could not get an NOC because land survey of this colony was found impossible by the concerned authorities. A “Total Station Method” which is a way of aerial survey had been ordered. The survey is now complete and funds allocated but the development work still remains halted.