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Water problems in India

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CUT OFF: Around 10 million citizens in India’s capital were unable to access water as taps ran completely dry

CUT OFF: Around 10 million citizens in India’s capital were unable to access water as taps ran completely dry

New Delhi left thirsty for over 24 hours after supply cut off by rioters

Rioters in the Indian state of Haryana took control of –and damaged - the Munak canal last week, cutting off the water supply in New Delhi for more than 24 hours.

On Monday, troops were sent in to take back control of the waterway following the civil unrest which resulted in the death of 19 people.

10 million citizens in India’s capital were unable to access water as taps ran completely dry. Those who could afford bottled water rushed out to buy it whilst others filled their buckets from the trucks that brought water to the affected neighbourhoods.

Kapil Mishra, the Delhi state water minister said: “It was the worst crisis Delhi has ever seen.

“Seven [of nine] water treatment plants were totally shut down. Right now the canal is damaged very badly. I’ve not seen anything like this...But there was no panic.”

Neeraj Semwal, a senior water board official, told The Wall Street Journal that the full restoration of piped water supplies would take 15 days because of the time it will take to repair the Munak canal in Haryana that supplies 60 per cent of Delhi’s water.

Delhi’s problems won’t be over even when normalcy returns to the city.

About 70 per cent of Delhi's residents receive only three hours of running water per day, according to India's Ministry of Urban Development, a supply which is not even guaranteed as more than half of the city’s running water leaks from rusty pipes before it reaches households.

Another problem with Delhi's water supply is how pure it is. Those who can afford it buy bottled water or reverse osmosis filters for their drinking water.

A political dispute in a neighbouring state has caused this latest crisis, but it is a reminder that water shortages and pollution problems continue to be prevalent in India, which is home to 1.3billion people.

India is a country that uses so much irrigation that the groundwater is already severely depleted and rivers often run dry due to the artificial pumping of water to land and soil to assist in the growing of crops in agriculture.

A member of Delhi Legislative Assembly representing the Janakpuri area in West Delhi, Rajesh Rishi, told The Wall Street Journal that the people in his area had no piped water for the last few days.

He said: “[The] Government is providing water to the people through tanks for essential purposes like drinking and cooking.”

Radical road rationing for Delhi’s cars

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ODD-EVEN SCHEME: A radical road rationing plan has been implemented by the government in India

ODD-EVEN SCHEME: A radical road rationing plan has been implemented by the government in India

Indian city is now the most polluted in the world

New Delhi, India’s capital city which is home to over 20 million people, has made a bid to tackle its shocking air pollution.

Polluted air in the city has reached a record-breaking high, and now a plan to ban cars from travelling on alternate days over the first two weeks of this year has been implemented.

The radical road rationing plan kicks in from the New Year as the city aims to clean up its filthy air.

The ‘odd-even scheme’ has been introduced to the city, where private cars will be allowed on the roads only on alternate days from 1st  January to the 15th, depending on whether their license plates end in an odd or even number.

This initiative has been taken to help cleanse the capital’s toxic air, which has reached one of the highest levels of pollution, compared to other big cities in the world.

In 2014, the World Health Organisation had released data on air quality levels in 1,600 cities around the world, and New Delhi was found to have the highest concentration of polluted air.

A lungful of air in Delhi means a breathful of a harmful mix of noxious fumes, smoke, dust and ash, with heavy concentrations of chemicals, acids, metals and carcinogens.

The air is particularly deadly because of its size. The particles are small enough to pass through the nose and throat, and even penetrate through tissue.

However, vehicles aren’t completely to blame for the smoggy air.

Road dust, which is a high concentration of metals such as Copper, Manganese, Nickel, Barium and Zinc, is a major cause of pollution in Delhi.

The road dust is the result of poor roads, heavy traffic and incessant construction.

An equally alarming cause of pollution is how the people in Delhi handle their rubbish.

When piles of trash are burnt, harmful chemicals are released into the air.

The harmful air contains a class of chemicals that are associated with heart attacks, cancer and neurological diseases.

Other measures proposed to clear up Delhi’s pollution include the vacuum-cleaning of roads, as well as a plantation drive along its roads to control how much dust gets circulated.

The odd-even plan clearly won’t be enough to stem the smog unless these other, less-publicised plans of the government kick in.

Indian protests after Dalit children burnt alive in caste attack

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Enraged against the incident at Sunped village, youths blocked roads demanding action against the accused, in Faridabad district

Enraged against the incident at Sunped village, youths blocked roads demanding action against the accused, in Faridabad district

Protesters have blocked a key highway in India to protest against the death of two children who were burnt alive in an arson attack near the capital Delhi.

A toddler and a nine-month old died after their home in Faridabad town was set on fire early on Tuesday 20th October, allegedly by upper-caste men.

Three people were arrested and police said they were looking for nine others.

The parents of the children were also injured and their mother is reported to be still in a critical condition.

Security has been tightened in the area after a rise in tensions over the incident.

Several young men blocked roads in Faridabad, demanding action against those behind the crime. Many more joined them on Wednesday 21st October, a local television reported.

The house was doused in petrol and set on fire at around 2am on Tuesday

The infant and his two-year-old sister were both asleep in their home in Faridabad district, about 25 miles (40km) outside Delhi, when the attackers doused the building with petrol and set it alight.

"We were sleeping when they poured petrol from the window. I smelled the petrol and tried to wake up my wife but by then the fire had started. My children died in the fire," the father, identified as Jitender, told a news agency.

"They had threatened me that they will finish my family, that I should never return to the village," he added.

The attack appeared to have been part of a long-running feud between the area's Dalit community and the higher Rajput caste.
The chief minister and senior police officials have promised to bring the attackers to justice.

Faridabad police commissioner Subhash Yadav told the AFP that the attack appeared to have been part of a long-running feud between the area's Dalit community and the higher Rajput caste, which also claimed the lives of three people a year ago.

Dalits, formerly known as "untouchables", are at the bottom of the Hindu caste system in India. Although caste discrimination is illegal, biases remain in many areas.