Residents of Chhayanagar and Chandinagar along with Dulal Bhuiyan (second from left) agitate in front of the district collectorate on Monday. Picture by Bhola Prasad
Residents of Chhayanagar and Chandinagar, both urban slums in Bhuiyandih, demonstrated in front of the district collectorate on Monday against Jusco’s snapping of water supply in the area last week.
The protesters, who gathered under the newly floated Basti Vikas Kalyan Samiti led by former legislator Dulal Bhuiyan, threatened to intensify their agitation if water connection was not restored by this month.
“The two slums, which host over 2,000 homes and have a population of over 6,000, is reeling from acute water crisis. People are apprehensive of the situation going from bad to worse in the approaching summer. We will not tolerate such highhandedness of Jusco,” said Bhuiyan, who is also a patron of the protesting outfit.
The former legislator added that the residents of the twin slums had been receiving water supply for the past two decades.
“The users are also willing to pay for the water supply. There was no reason to disconnect the lines and that too without prior information,” said Bhuiyan.
He added that the supply must be restored at the earliest and alternative arrangements made till then.
“We demand immediate restoration of water supply in the slums. Until then, the Tata utility provider should arrange for supply through adequate number of tankers. If these steps are not taken, we will block Jusco gates and stage a violent agitation,” warned the former MLA.
Later, a delegation of Basti Vikas Kalyan Samity met East Singhbhum deputy commissioner Amitabh Kaushal and handed him over a memorandum listing their problems and demands.
“We had written to the deputy commissioner on January 31 about our problems. But so far, no action has been taken. We have been compelled to stage this agitation. Jusco must supply water to each house and we are prepared to pay the rent,” said Bhuiyan.
Residents of the two slums further pointed out that the congested area was prone to fire mishaps and scarcity of water could lead to large-scale damage in such situations.
Jusco officials, however, cited their own reasons to stop water supply.
When approached for comments over the agitation, Jusco spokesperson Rajesh Rajan said the urban slums were located on encroached land and the water connections were illegal.
“That is the reason we sent officials to snap supply,” he added.