Sunday, February 15, 2009

Khar taps spew dirty water

Khar taps spew dirty water

MUMBAI: When 33-year-old Khar resident Tarana Masand noticed a strange smell in the water she was drinking, she thought it was a temporary problem. It was only when the odour started getting stronger and the water started tasting unpleasant over several days that she realised something was seriously wrong. Masand, a resident of Alka building on 15th Road, Khar (W), has been purchasing cans of mineral water for the past two days. 

But she is not the only one in the locality faced with this problem of turbid water. Over 50 buildings spread across 12th, 15th, 16th and 17th Roads in Khar have been facing this problem on and off since the beginning of this year. Residents allege that, despite several complaints to the ward office, the civic body has not acted promptly. 

"The water is unfit for human consumption. It emits a very strong odour and tastes dirty. Even boiling the water does not help,'' said Masand. "At first, we thought it would not last long and we started buying mineral water. But as the days went by, the water started getting worse. It is impossible to even brush our teeth with it. I am worried about the health of my two little children,'' said Masand. 

Just as the residents were trying to get over the taste and smell, the water has suddenly become oily and greasy. "The water looks pretty clear and transparent. It is not brownish. But it has a metallic sort of a taste as if there is acid in it,'' said paediatrician Alka Upadhyaya who lives in the same building. "We know our building tanks are clean and they are well maintained. The problem has continued for too long and it is not possible to keep buying mineral water every day,'' she added. 

Grocery stores in the neighbourhood confirmed that almost all houses were buying mineral water. "I have had to increase my stock of Bisleri and Aquafina as the demand for these bottles and cans has suddenly increased 10 times,'' said a shopkeeper. 

Local councillor Ashish Shelar said he had been raising the issue in the ward office and the civic general body meeting but officials kept giving excuses. "There is some sort of leakage in water pipelines but the water department is unable to detect it. Each time I ask them about the repairs, they tell me they are trying to find the leaks. Over 500 residents are suffering,'' he added. 

An official from the water department of the H-West ward office said he had received complaints and admitted there was a delay in addressing them. "We are seeing what the problem is. We are detecting the leaks. Meanwhile, we are sending water tankers,'' he said.

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