POST TIME: 9 June, 2018 00:00 00 AM
Tempers fray, fists fly in India’s daily battle for water

Tempers fray, fists fly in India’s daily battle for water

New Delhi: When the water truck finally chugged into the Delhi slum, there was a stampede. It is a scene repeated daily across India as temperatures rise and the vital resource gets ever scarcer, reports AFP.

Young men clambered onto the roof and jammed a tangle of multicoloured hosepipes inside, passing the other ends to friends waiting with containers in the shouting crowd below.

All 10,000 litres were gone in minutes, lugged away in jerry cans and buckets dangling on bike handlebars. As the lorry left, people ran after it, desperate for any last drops.

“It’s a real battle, every man for himself,” Raj Kumari, one of dozens of people in the Sanjay Camp slum who wait hours for this brutal daily ritual, told AFP.

“There are fights and arguments, even injuries,” the young woman said. “We have to get (our containers) filled even if someone gets crushed or loses an arm or leg.”

No one was hurt this time but injuries are common and anger is growing at the authorities.

Earlier this year a 60-year-old man and his student son died in the capital after scuffles over a water tanker, reports said, prompting protests by hundreds of angry locals.

Elsewhere, scores of people in the northern city of Jammu this week blocked an express train to Delhi in a protest against water shortages.

And in the Himalayan hill resort of Shimla, the former summer capital of the British Raj, residents staged street demonstrations after water ran out.

Foreign tourists were asked to cancel bookings, hotels began closing and police had to escort water tankers through Shimla’s winding streets.

Summer temperatures in parts of India are currently passing 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit) and data show that the country of 1.25 billion people is getting hotter.

A 2017 study by the Indian Institute of Science said that the frequency and magnitude of heatwaves accompanied with drought had increased over the past three decades.

The India Meteorological Department said in 2017 that 2016 was the warmest year since 1901. India’s top five hottest years have been recorded in the last 15 years.