Mumbai: The whole nation is in the state of lockdown, something that has endangered the lives of the elite as well as poor – COVID-19. But here’s something more troublesome to the people of Bhiwandi. 

Ummat Nagar, Naye Gaon, Bhiwandi- The not-so-famous place only gets recognized during the time of elections leaving the dwellers filled with unfilled stomachs and unquenched thirsts for the rest of their lives. The story of Ummat Nagar is not something sprouting up all of sudden, it has emerged gradually over the past 25 years. A boy who has grown up seeing water crisis and untreated sewage has now turned 20! Adding to the fact, this is not where the problem ends, this is where it all starts!

“It’s been 3 years since the pipelines have been installed. We have not received a single drop of water since then. We use boring water that costs us Rs.30 per day, around Rs.500- 600 per month”, quoted a dweller of Ummat Nagar. The situation has become even worse with the installation of pipelines, which otherwise, conveyed water through mobile tanks from the nearby areas. Revolving around municipal corporations and Municipalities has resulted in nothing more than consolations, promises, and more likely, assaults. 

The residents of Ummat Nagar found more harmony in sustaining the 100 liters water that they acquire from toilet taps after holding on too long queues or the next best option- to fetch it from wherever possible! The state of nationwide lockdown seems to confine the people of Ummat Nagar for a virus that is unlikely a threat to the ones surviving in the runnel of viruses. Untreated sewage, heavy dumping grounds of garbage has never caught the eye of the municipalities. Whilst the whole country prays for monsoons, regions like these run to clean their sewage to abstain from waterlogging.

“Ration Kharid ke khaye? Ya Pani Kharide?” (What shall we buy? Rations? or water?) an unresolved question that can probably be answered in the parallel Earth. ‘We wastewater, they pay for water.’ The world is witnessing a coronavirus pandemic and the major concerns highlight the measures of safety and hygiene. But how much relevance does it make to the people of Ummat Nagar? People, who are not even destined to receive water for drinking? People who spend hours in queues and fetch no more than 100 liters of water daily?

The answer lies somewhere in the ambiguous municipalities. Who else is responsible for the exploitation of the poor if not the government? 

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