CHENNAI: What has been a calm locality for decades suddenly turned into a clamorous one as 80 residents of Old Washermenpet, most of them women, came to the roads in protest. The reason: it has been three months since a drop of water spilled out of the water pumps in their locality.
The residents of Thirunavukkarasu Thottam (TK Garden) locality carried empty water pots and sat at the busy and popular Bombay Hotel Junction in Thiruvottriyur High Road on Tuesday afternoon. This caused traffic to stand still for one hour and about 12 police officials were deployed to clear the crowd. However, the residents refused to leave until they got an assurance from the local Metro Water unit that water tankers would be sent by the evening of that day.
“About 3,500 people belonging to 800 families in the TK Garden locality have been suffering as the Metro Water has completely neglected us,’’ said PK Murthy, a resident of the area and a former ward secretary. He added that he tried to pressurise the officials to act but in no avail. “The Metro Water tanker does not even come for two or three days,’’ he said, adding that this has deprived the residents of drinking water too.
One pump, many families
TK Garden has about five streets and there’s only one public pump for everybody. Since, there’s no water in the area, the residents have been forced to go to nearby localities to fetch water. “When we go to the next locality, the residents there abuse us with vile words and ask us not to come,’’ said S Jaya, a resident.
“Why has the government pushed us to this?’’ questioned Jaya, pointing out how the government has allowed private tankers to extract water but it is reluctant in providing water. “We understand there’s no rain, but at least they can provide us with drinking water,” she added.
R Udhaya, another resident, was teary-eyed during the protest. “We have met higher officials during protests, they said they will provide water, but they don’t,’’ she said. She alleged that the Corporation officials had used abusive language to dismiss her when she had asked why water was not provided.
“People with money are drilling bores in the streets itself. What will the poor do?’’ she asked, adding that they walk up to one kilometre sometimes to fetch water.
The protest caused severe inconvenience to the public as MTC buses and share autos came to a complete standstill. “We will be sending tankers to the area and ensure water is supplied,’’ a Metro Water official in the local unit told Express.“We will come back to protest if the metro water does not keep its word,’’ said Jaya. The protesters left the place at about 1 pm.