From gutkha packets to rust and dust — water supplied to at least 50,000 people in the Mahendru area everyday for drinking has every other ingredient to make it contaminated.
Reason: The new pipes are connected with the old and rusted ones. Also, the damaged pipes laid near the open drains also contain dirty water.
Akhtari Khatoon (70) from Shahganj Lane has been consuming polluted water for several months. Akhtari said: “We are getting dirty water since months and if we store it in a container, all the dirt gets settled in the bottom. The water contains rust and also does not come in a proper flow. Instead, it flows in breaks maybe because of congested pipelines.”
Pieces of gutkha packets are also found in the piped water. Students of Rajakiya Gautam Buddha Madhya Vidyalaya, Mohammadpur, seem to be the worst sufferers as they have hardly any option but to drink the same water. Similar is the situation for several other schools in the area.
Manorama Prasad, aged around 60, of Machhuara Gali, showed lead-laden water to The Telegraph team with around 3cm red silt. Manorama said: “The water is very dirty and if someone takes out piped water when the pump starts in the morning or evening, s/he will witness even more dirt and silt.”
Residing near Manorama’s house, Baby (27) is worried for more than one reason. Baby said: “We do not have to bear just the stinking and dirty water but also the tenants. They complain saying that if they would have to pay the rent, why should they drink such contaminated water?” Baby said, adding that muddy deposit with worms comes as bonus with the piped water.
Mayor Afzal Imam admitted the problem, saying: “The contaminated water is due to the old pipes and in some areas, people who have opted for new connections, have left the old ones open. Leaks in the pipes result in water contamination. I’ll see to it that the problem gets solved.”
Ranjeet Kumar Choudhry (26) also complained of red water in the area.
Shabnam Parveen who too is a victim of all this, said the water is highly contaminated. The 30-something woman from Jafar Gali, Mohammadpur, said: “The old pipes have been connected with the new ones and therefore the old pipes which contain rust become the reason of the contaminated water (red in colour and even red particles are found in it). The pressure is also low and it takes around 10 minutes to fill a bucket.” Not only this, Parveen also said sometimes it stinks like cow dung and urine.
Ecologist Deep Kumar, who is an assistant professor with St Xavier’s College of Education, said: “The government should look into the matter and Patna Municipal Corporation should do their work at the grassroots level.”
Afroz Alam (35) of Shahganj Lane said the contaminated water contains black, red and white dirt. Yasmeen Khatoon (40), also of Jafar Gali, Mohammadpur, said: “The situation is such that we filter water even when we have to wash clothes else the shirts and saris turn red.”
Roshan Khatoon (30) sounded tensed: “If we do not filter the piped drinking water, our children would start suffer from several diseases.”
General physician Shailendra Kumar said: “Water-borne diseases are quite common and come in various forms of hepatitis and polio (viral), typhoid and all types of diarrhoea (bacterial and roundworm helminths).