Friday, April 02, 2010

Cry for water reaches a crescendo

Cry for water reaches a crescendo
Poornima Nataraj, Bangalore, April 1, DH News Service:

Bangaloreans are reeling under an acute water shortage like never before. Borewells are drying up, water mafias are invading neighbourhoods and street wars triggered by water problems are breaking out everywhere. With the City bursting at its seams, the water crisis is surely not going to disappear in a hurry. Deccan Herald takes an insightful look at the problem in all its shades through a new series 'Thirsty City.'Our reporters are visiting areas in deep trouble, speaking to the affected and discussing viable solutions with experts. You could send in your valuable feedback, views and suggestions to dhreporting@gmail.com


‘Parched’ would be an understatement at Veerabrahma Layout in KR Puram. For, this residential area housing 25,000 Bangaloreans, receives water only thrice a month!

But this is just one shocker from KR Puram, now reeling under an acute water crisis that has left every resident there affected in some way. Here’s one deep look at the problem in the area, a spot inspection that surely echoes what many Bangaloreans are experiencing elsewhere.

It is a daily battle out there. Ask any KR Puram resident about their biggest worry and hear them shout “Water!” Clean drinking water seems like a distant dream, because even after shelling out more than Rs. 1,000 every month for tankers and local borewell water suppliers, they aren’t getting enough. In Veerabrahma (VB) Layout with 3,800 houses, only 30 pots of water can be filled thrice a month. The residents have to wait in long queue at the spot where the water is supplied by tankers.

"Never before have we suffered so much for water here. People have been spending a lot on buying water. There is no question of conserving water as the supply is too less," said Pratap Singh, resident of VB Layout.

KR Puram residents had paid for Cauvery water connection in 2004 along with interest. Households had to pay Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) Rs. 14,000 including meter charges, plus interest at the rate of Rs. 100 per day. But till date, not a droplet has been supplied.

"Irrespective of the government, only assurances are given. Nobody actually keeps up any of their promises,” lamented Venugopal Shetty, a resident.

Long distances

Women carrying plastic pots is a common sight here. Residents who cannot afford to pay the water suppliers walk nearly two km bring drinking water. "Earlier, I used to walk long distances to bring water, but of late due to my health problems, I have started buying water. The problem has really gone from bad to worse," said Saraswathi, a long-suffering resident.

The situation is no different in areas under Mahadevapura. Rama, a resident of Saraswathinagar, complained how her health had deteriorated carrying water pots, day in and day out. "It has been more than six months since the CMC water supply has dried out. Women in every house walk long distances to bring drinking water and many have even suffered health problems.”

Water contributed to voters’ apathy

More than 55 percent citizens in Bangalore did not vote for various reasons in the BBMP elections held recently. But the residents of KR Puram Ward No. 52 (KR Puram) voluntarily abstained from voting as they know that their water problems will not be solved irrespective of any candidate/party winning the election.

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