A group of 800-900 families in Singasandra ward are caught between the devil and the deep sea as BWSSB refuses to recognise their rights for piped water supply. Just two kilometres from Electronics City, the hapless residents have to shell out money for every pot of water. In fact, Singasandra (Ward NO. 191) which falls under Bangalore South assembly constituency was one among the newly added areas to Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) limits in 2007.
Singasandra which earlier came under the jurisdiction of Bommanahalli City Municipal Corporation (CMC) has been facing this unusual problem despite being part of BBMP for the past six years. Residents here witness dry taps most of the days and are therefore, dependant on ‘paid water’ supplied by private tankers. Therefore, it is not surprising that the diktat of the private water tankers is rampant.
Kumar, a mobile vegetable vendor based around Subash Nagar said they were paying Rs 2-3 for a pot of water. “If water is potable, the price shoots up to Rs 4 per pot. For a family of four, we need at least 10 pots a day. On an average, we spend some Rs 40 only on water which means around Rs 1500 per month. It is difficult for us to spend that much on water every month,” he said.
Meenakshi who runs a small eatery business on Hosur Main Road says she buys one barrel of water every day which costs Rs 50. “I need water for cooking and cleaning purposes. I also need water for customers’ needs. I earn only Rs 400 per day and as a result, I have started charging more, thereby, burdening my customers,” she said.
Apart from this, people residing in individual houses too face many problems. Kamalakshamma, a housewife residing in CK Layout said they were paying Rs 400 per week for purchasing water from private suppliers. “We need this for domestic purposes excluding drinking and cooking. We also purchase mineral water,” she added.
Although BBMP authorities supply water through tankers, residents feel it is inadequate as well as irregular. “We have to pay acess of Rs 10 per house to the driver, otherwise the driver refuses to bring the tanker to our street. Even then, he comes only once a week,” Rajesh, another resident from CK layout said.
Meanwhile, Corporator Kavitha Baburaj has been receiving frequent complaints about water scarcity in her ward. “Singasandra is a new ward and we have two types of people staying here. One is BPL families working in garment, construction and other sectors and then we have residential owners. This ward gets water supply only through borewells or BWSSB and private tankers which is not sufficient for their needs.”
She further said, “Secondly, out of the 45 borewells, only 20 borewells are in working condition. So, water is available only for two or three hours which is sufficient only for 18-20 houses,” explains the Corporator who has ensured water supply to BPL families in her ward. “We send 25 private and 5 BWSSB tankers on a daily basis which will cater to approximately 800 houses free of cost,” she said.
Inspite of water being provided free of cost, all the tanker providers are charging a minimum amount of money per pot. This has caused extra burden on the people. Denying any such illegal activity, Kavitha said. “We have valvemen and supervisors in the ward who are overseeing the distribution of water. There is no way the public is being charged any money. In case of any such complaints, the public can always report the matter to us and we will take suitable action.”
Further, the Corporator is planning for installation of bulk metres for overhead tanks but she clarifies that discussions are still at the initial stages. “Half the headache will be solved, once we get the bulk metres installed.
However, the BWSSB is taking its own sweet time.
Unfortunately, the water supplied by GLR (Ground Level Reservoir) first caters to Electronics City and then flows to Hosur Road. With IT majors like Infosys and Wipro falling in the same area whose consumption is manifold, the water is a trickle by the time it comes to Singasandra. Right now, our concern is that water is provided only to the CMC area but not to the 110 villages of Kudlu, Naganathapura and Parapana Agrahara which also falls in the Singasandra ward. We have shared our concerns with the BWSSB and they are looking into the matter.”