Local Vendors Make a Fast Buck Using Water Scarcity
By V NarayanaMurthi | Published: 11th April 2014 08:07 AM |
The 100-plus water vendors in the Fort City are the busiest persons here, perhaps more than the officials involved in the election and the contesting candidates. These self-styled entrepreneurs in a bid to meet the ever-growing demand for water are spending sleepless nights to make a fast buck. Vehicles carrying water that whiz around the city round-the-clock speak volumes about the intensity of the issue as most of the households here depend on purchasing water from the vendors.
Depleted water sources, failure to conserve rainwater in water bodies and drying of Palar river have been attributed to the continued water scarcity in Vellore region for the past many years. In summer the problem gets aggravated to alarming levels, forcing people to stage road blockades, to vent their anger and frustration.
“Earlier when we made phone calls to get water from vendors, we would get it in the next one hour or so. Now we are on a queue. Sometimes the vendors ask us to make advance booking or wait for a day to get water,” said Ravichandran, a resident here. Another resident Anbu pointed oust that the vendors were hiking the price of water cashing in on the scarcity. What used to be available for `120 (1000 litres of water supplied on a small truck) a few months back was costing around `180 or `190 now.
“If we hesitate to confirm the order, we miss water for a day. Since water is a basic need, these vendors go scot free and make fortunes, without any regulations, he added.
While the Corporation was able to supply water through public fountains once in 15 days in addition to procuring it from private sources and supply through tankers to different localities on a turn basis, “It is hardly enough to meet our daily requirement,” said Annapoorni, a housewife of Thorapadi. She added: “We cannot afford to buy water everyday.”
Water vendors said water was available only in select pockets within the city and on the outskirts and the vendors had to share it. Power cuts hindered filling of water from deep bore wells and they had to wait longer to load water Social activist R Chandrasekaran said Corporation should tie up with vendors and supply water at a nominal price.