BENGALURU: The water tanker mafia seems to be milking the water crisis in Bellandur to the maximum. With borewells in most apartment complexes and houses in Bellandur having gone dry a fortnight ago, tanker operators despatch water only to the highest bidder. Helpless residents are now warring among themselves and are forced to quote higher than one another to ensure they get at least some water. The rate for 6,000 litres of water (one load) here has now touched Rs 1,500 from the earlier price of Rs 600 and could shoot up higher.
Sprawling over 26.4 sq km, Bellandur is home to over 1,000 apartment complexes, each comprising anywhere between 200 and 600 flats. Hundreds of individual houses also dot the area. A big chunk of the IT crowd has made it their home due to the presence of eight tech parks. Bellandur, falling under the Mahadevapura Assembly constituency, along with other peripheral areas, was brought under the BBMP in April 2007.
Explaining the water crisis unfolding, Vishnu Prasad, president, Bellandur Development Forum, comprising nearly 100 Resident Welfare Associations of Bellandur, told The New Sunday Express. “The borewells have all dried up two weeks ago. So, water tanker operators are now auctioning the water supplied by them to whichever apartment is willing to quote the highest price. The price we paid for a tanker last week was Rs 1,200 for 6,000 litres. It will surge in the next three months,” he claimed.
Techie Ashok M G, a resident of SLS Splendor Apartments says, “This is an artificial crisis created by the tanker operators. It is like a mafia and they have a pact with some flatly refusing to despatch the tanker so that we accept the high rate demanded by a few others. Our apartment needs at least 70,000 litres each day.” The water treated by the sewage treatment plants in apartments help in flushing, gardening and car-washing, he added.
“The problem has totally gone out of hand,” feels Pratiush Raj, a resident of Oceana Vista on Kasavanahalli Main Road. “Even after paying whatever is demanded, one needs to make repeated calls to ensure the tanker reaches one’s doorstep and is not diverted to someone else. I have even stayed awake up to 2 am awaiting for a tanker for our apartment.”
This reporter called up SLV Water Supply on Saturday for a load. The respondent quoted a flat Rs 1,500. Asked for some reduction in price and immediate delivery, the operator said, “This is the minimum rate now. We can deliver only on Sunday morning.” Three other tanker operators refused to supply to Bellandur citing the distance factor. The federation has approached Mahadevapura MLA Arvind Limbavali, DyCM G Parameshwara and filed many complaints online.
‘Doing everything to support Greater B’luru’
BBMP Commissioner Manjunath Prasad said the corporation was doing whatever it could to support areas of Greater Bengaluru as they are all still managed by BBMP. “I have asked corporators to arrange for water tankers wherever necessary. I have also asked them to drill borewells where there is water shortage,” he said. A total of 110 villages in Mahadevapura, Bommanahalli, Rajarajeshwari Nagar, Dasarahalli and Byatarayanapura were added to form BBMP in April 2007. The newly added areas get up to 400 Million Litres of Water Per Day from their borewells, he added.
‘End to crisis only by 2019-end’
BWSSB Chairman Tushar Girinath said that the crisis can be solved fully only by 2019-end. “The project to supply water to 110 villages of Greater Benglauru began in May 2017. It has a May 2019 deadline, but could take a few more months. By December 2019, the water problem in these newly added areas will be solved,” he said. Ruling out diverting the 68 water tankers to Bellandur as requested by residents, he said BWSSB tankers are put to use only in the core areas wherever there is water shortage. “There is no plan to send them to other areas where our distribution is not in place.”