100 handpumps make life easier at a Delhi slum

Life took a happy turn for 45-year-old Maya Devi, her friends and their families at the Yamuna Khaddar slum colony in East Delhi after 100 handpumps were installed in the area by RC Delhi South Central, RID 3011, thanks to the initiative of club president Rajnish Mittal. Now they don’t need to go far to fetch potable water, or wash clothes and clean cooking vessels. “I came to know about the sufferings of people at this huge slum tenement spread over 5-6sqkm along the banks of the Yamuna River from ex-mayor and local councillor Bipin Bihari Singh. He requested me to do something to lessen the hardships of these families,” recalls Mittal.

A villager using a handpump installed by RC Delhi South Central to draw water.
A villager using a handpump installed by RC Delhi South Central to draw water.

Around 3,000 families (10,000 beneficiaries) live at the Khaddar slum nestled between the Akshardham temple and the Delhi-Noida Direct Flyway, but without basic amenities like potable water, electricity and proper roads. “They depend entirely on water tankers that visit the colony once in a while. Due to poor hygiene, it is really difficult for outsiders to get out of their car and move around this stinking area. We decided to install handpumps to solve the water woes of the residents.”

But to their dismay, even after digging 30feet, the water was found to be muddy and not fit for consumption. “Hence we had to go down 50feet to get water that was safe and clean for drinking and other needs,” says Mittal. Project Jal (water) costing ₹13 lakh (approx) with each handpump costing around ₹12,000–15,000 was funded through member contributions. Day labourer Ram Prasad (35) beamed with joy as he can now enjoy a shower under the handpump after a hard day’s work.

The residents of the Yamuna Khaddar colony depend entirely on water tankers that visit the colony once in a while. We decided to install handpumps to solve their water woes.

It has now become routine for family members to queue up in front of the manual pumps to fetch water for their drinking and household needs. “We have created a stoneplatform to wash clothes and clean utensils around the pumps,” he says. As water is available 24×7 at the pumps, this precious resource is no more a scarcity at Khaddar colony.

The person residing near the handpump will be responsible for its maintenance.

Club president Rajnish Mittal (fourth from L), DGs Anup Mittal and Ajay Madan (RID 3080), district secretary Vivek Jain and AKS member Mukesh Aggarwal at the launch of Project Jal.
Club president Rajnish Mittal (fourth from L), DGs Anup Mittal and Ajay Madan (RID 3080), district secretary Vivek Jain and AKS member Mukesh Aggarwal at the launch of Project Jal.

During the virtual inauguration of handpumps, DG Anup Mittal lauded the club for providing a permanent solution to water scarcity in the slum colony. DG Ajay Madan, RID 3080, was also present at the inaugural.

Solar lamps

Now the club is working on installing solar streetlights in the colony as there is no electricity here. “This will be completed before June 30,” assures the club president. The club with 69 members is known for implementing mega water projects such as 35 check dams in Rajasthan, besides WinS programmes at 15 governments girls schools in Delhi, over the last 4–5 years.

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