By M.P. Singh and S.S. KottayamKerala, India, May 14 (Reuters) – Hundreds of people, mostly women and children, marched on a riverbank in Kerala’s biggest city on Saturday, the state government said, calling for clean drinking water to be provided to citizens.
In a defiant move, the protesters called for clean water from the sea to be piped into the city from a nearby lake.
They chanted slogans such as “Let’s not drink our water” and “Don’t sell our water”.
“People are tired of drinking water that is polluted,” said protester A.J.R. Nandakumar, who also demanded a ban on the sale of water to the government.
“We are thirsty.
We can’t go to our shops,” said Nandaka, who added that he planned to stay on the water protest until the city received its supply of clean drinking-water.
Kerala has been grappling with a crisis of untreated sewage and industrial pollutants.
The state government has not provided clean drinking supplies for at least a decade.
The protests were part of the state’s National Water Awareness Day on Sunday.
The protesters were demanding the state get the raw sewage treatment plant built and to have a ban placed on the selling of water.
The state’s water resources department said the city had about 8,500 hectares (25,600 acres) of wetlands, including 2,500 ponds and 30 rivers.
(Reporting by M. P. Singh; Writing by Rahul Sharma; Editing by James Dalgleish)