Living in Hard Times! To add to the recent woes, water and electricity supply have been playing truant on the campus. Though the problem appears to have abated a bit, here is a full report by The Informer.
JNU is highly dependent on surface water supply from outside due to its quartzite terrain and bedrock. The recent turmoil due to the Jat protestors in Haryana badly affected water supply through pipelines from the Munak Canal, which happens to be the sole resource for portable water for large parts of the city.
Hostellers on campus, especially those from Jhelum and Sutlej, suffered most from shortage of water supply: mess food was served in disposable plates and filtered water was unavailable for three days while water was delivered through tankers every morning. Hostellers had to queue up outside their gates to fill their buckets while many others deferred their bathing routine due to the unclean water in the tankers. Almost every hostel in JNU was affected in these moments of crisis but the worst affected were also the wet labs of Science Schools where researchers had to halt their experiments due to water scarcity.
As stated by a staff member, in times of crisis, JNU water department directs some 50 tankers of water to various hostels from morning to evening to maintain water supplies for daily necessities. Vinod Kumar of Electricity Department, Paschimabad branch, said that water first comes to the pump house before VC’s house, from where it’s distributed throughout the campus.
The rain water harvesting system developed by the School of Environmental Sciences back in 2000 came as a relief to many. The water harvesting system collects rainwater and fills underground reservoirs, making the tube well system in JNU an effective backup in moments of crisis, decreasing dependability on outside sources.
On the other hand, on 22nd February, along with the water crisis there was a complete blackout in the university from 24*7 dhaba till the West Gate and the Saraswatipuram area which was alarming for many. This blackout happened accidently during the work in-progress on the gas lines in the campus.
All one could see was dark silhouettes and hear muffled voices; some students bundled in a corner discussing what’s up next at Ad block and most were out on a stroll, “an escape from the ghostly hollows” someone remarked about the hostels. Mess had to do with candles at dinner as no alternative power supply is provided in the hostels. “Washrooms are stinking so bad. We should be provided with a reserved water supply,” said a girl sulking her way out of Koyna hostel. “I just hope this is no grudge against JNU”, she added on a lighter note.
With 12 hours power-cut students had no choice but to head to the overflowing library to complete their work. ”There’s hardly any seat left” the library guard was seen telling a student who anxiously waited for someone to vacate.
The glitch in the electricity supply was corrected immediately, and since the protests in Haryana have been called off, the drought-like situation should ameliorate too. Normalized water levels are expected within one week.
Manvendra Patel in PhD (SES), Upama Bhattacharya in MA (CISLS) in SSS- I and Asiya Baqar Naqvi in BA (CAAS) in SLL; reporting on behalf of The Informer.