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Times of India
10 March 2009
by Payal Banerjee

Some 150 houses in Shukrawar Peth are getting sewage water from their taps for over a month. PMC says it’s due to a snag and asks them to wait and watch. Many are already down with diarrhoea and dysentry
A Resident Holds a Bottle of the Contaminated Water A Resident Holds a Bottle of the Contaminated Water
With summer being around the corner and doctors advising people to be vary of contaminated water and food, diseases are pouring out of taps in some 150 houses in the middle class–dominated Shukrawar Peth area along Shivaji Road. Residents of the area allege that they have been getting drainage water from their taps for over a month now.

PMC'S visit and a letter
To convince Doubting Thomases if any, the residents are armed with utensils filled with the murky and stinking water and also a letter (see pic above) from the Pune Municipal Corporation that they received when they complained about the issue.

Dated March 5 and signed jointly by the ward officer of Kasba–Vishrambaugwada ward office and PMC’s Zonal Medical Officer, the letter reads: “A spot visit has revealed that your area is receiving supply of contaminated drinking water. You are hereby informed that the water supply department has undertaken repair work and till the supply of purified water resumes, the tap water should not be consumed.”

It’s a technical snag: PMC
“We had carried out some repairs on Friday last. A drainage line is choked up. As a result, the sewage is entering the drinking water lines. This is a chronic problem in the area and we are trying to solve it,” comes a terse reply from Kashinath Gangurde, assistant engineer of the ward office, on being asked about the problem.

Residents’ water woes
The impasse has forced residents to fetch water from roadside public taps in Subhashnagar and Guruwar Peth areas, located at a distance of some half a kilometre. For this, they are forced to wait till the afternoon when the supply begins there.

Hotel owner worst affected
Balasaheb Vitthal Chaube (50), owner of Maharashtra Hotel near Van–raj Mandal, said, “I’m the biggest casualty. My hotel needs a large quan–tity of water and procuring it is a big task. Some of my patrons and staffers fell ill after consuming the contaminated water and that has taken a toll on my business too.”

It all began about a month and a half ago when my regular patrons and staff were diagnosed with dysentery and diarrhoea. Two of my staffers had to be hospitalised. Then we complained to the civic officials who cautioned us against drinking the tap water on Friday last. I do not understand what the civic officials expect us to do in such a situation. Do they want us to purchase purified water day in and day out? And who will pay for all these expenses and the headache that we are incurring? After all, everybody here is paying taxes,” he fumes.

The PMC’s letter to residents asking them not to consume the water The PMC’s letter to residents asking them not to consume the water
Epidemic likely: residents
Local residents Sandip Mate and Deepak Naik demand that the civic officials sort out the problem on a war footing. “More than 12 families reside in the Yadav Vyapar Bhavan building where we live. We are feeling helpless. The tap water is useless as it is murky and stinks. We filed complaints at the ward office, but we just got a spot visit by some civic officials who checked the pipes and left. Many residents of the building have fallen ill already. The fear of contaminated water supply resulting in an epidemic looms large in this area,” they said.

The problems WHAT IS POTABLE WATER? Potable or drinking water is water that is fit for consumption. It may be naturally potable, as is the case with pristine springs, or it may need to be treated.

In developed countries, citizens can turn on a tap for fresh, potable water which may also be enriched with fluoride. But in de–veloping countries, many people do not have access to safe water.

Contaminated water carries diseases and heavy metals. Boiling is one of the easiest ways to treat water, but it may not remove heavy contaminants, though it can neutralise most bacteria and viruses.Water can also be treated with chemicals such as bleach, which sometimes come in the form of tablets. Water can also be pumped through a filter to remove particulates.

Many nations strive to increase access to potable water. Some countries test water on a regular basis for contaminants, making the results of this testing available to citizens by request. In developing nations, many non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are working to improve water quality conditions, along with other basic sanitation.

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