In the last issue of COMMON CAUSE we had written generally about Bharat Nirman and specifically for the development works in the rural areas supervised by the normal administrative machinery with an additional monitoring agency enforcing strict accountability. In this issue we wish to talk about Urban Renewal that is also a part of Bharat Nirman. The acute shortage of drinking water that one can foresee in the next several weeks in the city of Delhi is an area of deep concern to COMMON CAUSE. In this issue we will concentrate on this problem as it affects critically the lives of the citizens of Delhi.
The availability of potable water has been considered by the Supreme Court as a Fundamental Right of the citizens. So far it seems that the significance of this basic tenet of our Constitution has not been well understood. There are large areas of Delhi that do not get potable water from the distribution system and those that are connected, get very limited supply, or use on-line booster pumps to suck in the water of the connections upstream and deny water to the connections downstream. On the rule books, this is a criminal act and should be prosecuted in a court of law. However, in light of the ground reality, a Superior Court seems to have ruled that until water can be supplied in reasonable quantities, the consumer has no alternative but to attach a booster pump to suck in his minimum potable water
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