Mumbai: Coronavirus outbreak brings temporary water connections for pavement dwellers


BMC has now provided temporary water supply to slum dwellers living under the Jogeshwari flyover in Mumbai.

Suresh Talasam and his wife under the flyover at Jogeshwari

Suresh Talasam and his wife under the flyover at Jogeshwari


  • Maharashtra has 3,323 confirmed cases of Covid-19 to date
  • Mumbai has emerged as the epicentre of the infection in Maharashtra
  • Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is India’s richest civic body

Suresh Talasam has undergone a major heart operation and rests under the huge flyover while helping his wife around with household chores. Two mattresses, a fireplace and a small basket of utensils are his spread of ‘home’ under the flyover at Mumbai’s Jogeshwari. Talasam hails from Nashik but has lived near the Western Express Highway at Jogeshwari for nearly two decades in Mumbai. His two sons are drivers and whatever they earn goes into his medical and their household expenses.

For their cleanliness and washing, they were dependent on water from neighbouring buildings or the public washroom across the road. But it is for the first time that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has given them water, right next to the flyover. “It is very nice that they have given the water. It is almost like we have been recognised in this city after all these years,” says Talasam.

Laxmi Kurade who hails from Amravati but has lived most of her life on the footpaths of the city lives a little distance away from Talasam’s residence. Kurade says, “I used to get water mostly from the buildings nearby. But since coronavirus has spread, those people tell us not to come to their building. Some even hit us with sticks. Now it is so much better to get water near our house without having to beg for it. Hope they keep it like this only.”

Mumbai slum dwellers

Women queue up and try to maintain social distancing which is supervised by some of the boys in the area

Nitin Kubal, who runs an NGO, Janta Jagruti Samiti and works in the area, saw the problems that these people were facing and approached the BMC. “According to Bombay High Court order, be it a legal or illegal slum, BMC has to supply water to everyone. But because where these people are on railway land, issues with regards to NOCs were arising. But in such times, if they go around for water during lockdown then they too could fall ill and spread coronavirus. Them going to other areas was creating a lot of tension and these people were regularly being snubbed wherever they went,” says Kubal. Within five days after speaking to them, the BMC officers set up a water pipeline in the area.

There are 180 families that live in the slum and a few more who live on the periphery on the road. There are three taps and all these people have been divided equally so that there is an equal distribution of water. The canisters from each family are equal in number and all of them are kept at a specified distance from each other so that people can maintain social distancing during the pandemic.

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About the author: Sohom Das
Founder of Tuccho.

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