NEW DELHI: The Dhaka hostel complex in Delhi University is reportedly facing an acute water crisis, as water supplies have remained cut off since the Jat agitation in Haryana early February. The complex includes the Rajiv Gandhi Hostel for Girls and the Undergraduate Hostel for Girls, the student’s of which have taken the matter into their own hands and have been leading a series of petitions, letters and calls for action.

Their cries for help falling on deaf year, Harleen Kaur, a postgraduate student residing at the Rajiv Gandhi Hostel for Girls finally started a petition.

“We have survived on drops of water in Rajiv Gandhi Hostel For Girls, University of Delhi, and sometimes not even that. The drinking water is most unfit for drinking which we had no other option but to drink leading to various sort of throat, stomach, intestinal, skin problems and so on. I wrote mails to Vice chancellor and the Proctor which were not responded to. One day, when the higher authorities of this prestigious university indeed tested our patience, I, Harleen Kaur, wrote an online petition on called “WATER IS ALL THAT WE ASK FOR!” addressed to the proctor having 350 signatures of the supporters,” Kaur told The Citizen.

“Though the proctor met us and gave various assurances, nothing came out of it as concrete and substantial solution. They said drinking water they can still see but in terms of water supply, they are “helpless”. Do you expect such as answer from authorities for basic access to water?” she asked.

“It is infringement upon our basic human rights; our dignity. The other hostel called Undergraduate hostel for girls, University of Delhi suffered the same problem for around two months and finally it took 200 girls on road at midnight for the Water Minister, Mr. Kapil Mishra and other authorities to respond,” Kaur elaborates.

The petition that finally got the authorities to take note, is addressed to Proctor, Delhi University, and states:

“With sheer disappointment I, a resident of Rajiv Gandhi Hostel For Girls, University of Delhi, am writing this to you and would sincerely wish to bring into your notice the state of affairs we are facing here… Ma'am, the hostel accommodates around 500 girls of the university and with its soothing and quiet atmosphere is an ideal place for us to study. I understand that every place has its own problems and can't be perfect and i very well co-operate with my fellow beings and administration at various points. And had the problem not been severe, i would have refrained from asking your valuable time and intervention into this… But, continued irresponsibility of the administration and a long list of unaddressed problems has today provoked me to write to you. Two of the major problems we face is of PURIFIED DRINKING WATER and FRESH WATER SUPPLY among others. The R.O. systems barely work properly and are dysfunctional most of the times. A few months back, a fellow resident suffered from Typhoid because of the same after which some action was taken but now the condition is again the same. We have to struggle for water from one cluster to another and sometimes we don't it find anywhere… As far as water supply is concerned, we all have been more than cooperative with the authorities in the wake of water shortage all over Delhi during the Jaat Andolan and even many days after that until the supplies could be made normal but now, it's been a lot. WE GET UP IN THE MORNING TO FIND OUT THERE'S NO WATER TO BRUSH AND TAKE BATH. How can in such a situation we go to study. The Dhaka Hostel Complex has a total of five hostels along with other staff quarters but it seems that its only us who are at the receiving end most of the times.”

Kaur then put forward a series of questions to the proctor, namely:

1. Why such an uneven distribution of water within the same complex?

2. If in case there is real shortage, why isn't it taken care of well in advance? Why is it that only when we complain, the admin tells us that they will order water tanks?

3. It's not that the usage has increased overnight. Why there is not a planned dispersal of the quantity of water?

4. If at all, nothing is working out. At least there can be a schedule of water supply students can adhere to. Why there is no such schedule even after 15 days of severe crisis?

The petition got the proctor’s attention, and a meeting was held on April 24. The meeting involved UGHG residents, Water Minister, Delhi, Mr. Kapil Mishra, Delhi Jal Board engineers, Delhi University engineering department, RGHG Warden Mrs. Poonam Silotia, DY. Proctor, DU, Dr. Kazim, Resident Tutor Mrs. Sandeep Kaur, Resident Tutor UGHG, and others.

However, Kaur says that although outcomes were arrived at at the meeting, no action has been implemented as yet.

The outcomes that were arrived at are as follows:

1. Delhi Jal board has been asked to give a broader connnection (approx. 3 inch) so as to cater the requirement.

2. University engineers asked to monitor the dispersal of water properly.

3. The quality of water to be checked weekly according to the parameters of Delhi Jal Board which are also available on their online website.

4. A separate sample would be tested in the laboratory to check the TDS, calcium, Magnesium and other minerals in the water within next days.

Kaur says that the Water Minister, Kapil Mishra, then asked for a list of questions in writing, “with a promise to answer each of them no matter who is concerned regarding such continued negligence.”

The list of questions that Kaur and the other students have put together, which Kaur says she will soon forward to the Minister, are as follows:

An Open letter/Petition/Application to Water Minister Mr. Kapil Mishra seeking answers to the "inhuman" treatment we got!!!

Cc: University of Delhi, University Grants Commission

I, Harleen Kaur, along with many other residents of Rajiv Gandhi Hostel For Girls, University of Delhi were facing severe water crisis and received "inhuman" treatment beginning from the month of September, 2015 and still our woes have not ended completely. Thereby, we wish to seek the information given below (in written form):

1. The list of authorities involved in the prolonged negligence. Written apologies/resignations of the incompetent ones. At the same time an assurance such things won't happen again.

2. The copy of water capacity sanction for the Underground Tank at Dhaka Hostel Complex and the capacity for our hostel particularly and how it is monitored.

3. The copy of documents/applications written by the hostel/University authorities to raise the issue of 1 lakh litre water less per day, to the higher authorities at Delhi Jal Board, if at all brought into your notice.

4. The copy of documents/applications written by the students to raise the issue to the hostel authorities.

5. The copy of documents/applications written by the hostel authorities to raise the issue to the higher authorities.

6. Where the flush water comes from? Why was it black and smelly?

7. The answer to why my mails addressed to the Proctor and the Vice-Chancellor were being unaddressed.

8. The copy of documents/ applications written by the Proctor office to the concerned Departments.

9. If at all, it was brought into the notice of University Engineering Department in writing, the copy of the records. Also, a copy of the RGHG water dispersal plan so as to see why such an uneven distribution of water among the eight clusters.

10. Why the engineering department was “helpless” all this while. If Delhi Jal Board was informed beforehand, the copy of the records too.

11. A copy of the report of drinking water sample.

12. Lastly, why did it take an online petition, 350 signatures, approx. 200 women of Undergraduate Hostel for Women, University of Delhi, on road at midnight to take the action?

P.S. Do ensure no student part of the "raising your voice" campaign is targeted next year in terms of hostel seat or degree or whatsoever.

It is thereby, as "CITIZENS OF INDIA" requested that the above answers are provided at the earliest under Right to Information Act 2005, irrespective of whosoever is responsible for the negligence as it was promised in the meeting dated 24.04.2016 that the hon'ble minister would personally take this issue to the university.