Friday, December 21, 2007

A long wait for water

A long wait for water
Satish Shile
The residents of Kodigehalli and Virupakshapura, who have been assured with supply of Cauvery water are unsure if the board will fulfill its promise.

Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) has assured the residents of 72 wards, in erstwhile CMC areas, of providing Cauvery water by the end of December. And for this, the Board is getting an additional 110 MLD (million litres per day) of Cauvery water by strengthening its pumping stations at a cost of Rs 14 crore. This project was recently inaugurated in K R Puram where the residents were supplied with the additional water the department has generated.

But the residents of Kodigehalli and Virupakshapura, who have also been assured with supply of Cauvery water, are unsure if the board will fulfill its promise, the main reason being — the department hasn’t completed the required pipeline work as yet. “Work to lay the pipes is still on. BWSSB officials have been telling us that we will have Cauvery water by the end of this month. With less than two weeks left in this month and so much work to be completed, do they actually expect us to believe them?,” asks Anjaneya Gowda, a resident of Kodigehalli.

Collection of beneficiaries’ contribution for providing Cauvery water began in 2004 itself and since then, hundreds of residents have contributed with respect to extent of their properties. A majority of these people are those living in newly formed layouts. “Residents of new layouts have paid the required sum as the CMC officers had made it compulsory to get their building plan sanctioned. However we, who have been living in Kodigehalli for many years, have not paid the amount. Once BWSSB starts providing us with sufficient Cauvery water, we will pay the dues,” said Kari Gowda, also a resident of Kodigehalli.

No collection of charges

Surprisingly, water charges have not been collected in Kodigehalli and Virupakshapura for the past 10 years. The erstwhile Byatarayanapura City Municipal Council was supplying water through borewells and the same continued even after the area came under the Palike limits.

Divakar, a Mumbai-based merchant who has been staying in Virupakshapura for seven years now, says he has, so far, never come across a system to collect water charges in his locality. “Everyone here relies on the borewell for water and we have not been paying for that. There are no electricity metres to measure the amount of power consumed by motors used to pump water from borewells. How will Bescom collect their dues?” he questions.

Roads damaged

Residents are upset with the recently-laid roads being damaged for the pipeline. BDA took up improvement of the 1.42 kilometre stretch connecting the outer ring road (near Nagashettihalli) as well as Kodigehalli at a cost of Rs 1.83 crore. The work, that began in March 2006 was complete by September 2007. Similarly, the 4.72 kilometre stretch connecting Bellary Road and Nanjappa circle via Kodigehalli was also developed recently at a cost of Rs 3.19 crore.
K N Jagadeesh Kumar, a PWD contractor shares, that after repeated demands by the public, BDA had taken up the road works.
“It is highly disappointing to see that the roads, that were recently laid, is being dug for BWSSB’s work. They don’t even patch up the portion appropriately after laying the pipelines. It is such a waste of tax payer’s money.”

Fact file

Property price:
Land per acre — Rs 10 crore
Per sq ft — 2,500 to Rs 6,000
Sixty apartment complexes have come up in Virupakshapura and Kodigehalli limits. Each complex has a minimum of 50 flats. But most of them have no approach roads. Each occupant has one four-wheeler and a two-wheeler and a minimum of 1,500 vehicles ply on the narrow roads during peak hours, affecting vehicular movement.

Jagadeesh K N, PWD contractor
In the name of providing drinking water, recently asphalted roads are being damaged. It is a sheer waste of public money. If the BDA and BWSSB had consulted one another before beginning their respective works, it could have been avoided.

Manu Deva, PhD student
New apartments that are coming up in this area are violating building bylaws. Every apartment has at least 50 flats and each occupant has a four-wheeler. But there are no approach roads. During peak hours, all approach roads get clogged.

Divakar, oil
I have been living in Virupakshapura for the past seven years and get drinking water from CMC borewells. To my surprise so far no officer has come to collect any money for the water that’s supplied to us. The BBMP is now promising to provide Cauvery water by the end of December. But I am not too confident about that.

Anjaneya Gowda, resident, Virupakshapura
Residents of recently-formed layouts have paid the deposit for the Cauvery water connection over three years ago. But there is no hope of getting water in the near future.


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