Saturday, April 17, 2010

WATER DRIES, MONEY FLOWS

WATER DRIES, MONEY FLOWS
City goes on an overdrive to stock up water after BWSSB announces no supply till Saturday.Water tanker suppliers, farmers make quick bucks
MANASI PARESH KUMAR


When Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) announced on Friday that the entire city would have no water till Saturday because of a breach at the Handihalla syphon, Bangaloreans took no chance to ensure that they had enough water to last a couple of days.
But if you think the water tanker guys are fleecing you amidst the rise in demand, you guessed it wrong. It is farmers living close to Bangalore city!
The demand for water goes through the roof during a crisis and the demand for water tankers goes up by 200 per cent. Ever wondered where this water came from? Some of the tanker suppliers have minireservoirs outside Bangalore with Cauvery water. But a lot of it comes from farmers who are not farming anymore but who have borewells, said a senior BWSSB official.
These farmers sublet their borewells to the tanker owners on either a per tank basis or a fixed amount per month and it is the former who is making money when a water crisis hits the city.
"Usually we pay about Rs 100-120 per tank, but once the BWSSB announced there would be no water for about two days, these guys started charging between Rs 180 and Rs 200," said Vishnu Kumar of SK Water Supplies in JP Nagar. He gets his water from a farmer in Bannerghatta village.
"Earlier, Devanahalli and its surrounding places were preferred. But after the airport came up, Bagalur and Hoskote have become popular," said Suresh Kumar of Om Sweet Water Suppliers in Dinnur. CORPORATORS GET CRACKING
The newly-elected corporators also got cracking on the water crisis that hit the city on Friday. The water mafia, which usually get active around this time, was held in check as a number of corporators got private tankers to meet the requirements. "The hand-held vehicles that go to the slums are those that charge the most. We have tried to keep them in check by getting water tankers," said Katta Jagadish, corporator from Vasanthanagar. Gangambika, corporator from Jayanagar, however said even the corporators are having a tough time getting tankers themselves. "Even if we offer more Rs 2,000 per tanker, we have been having problems finding suppliers," she said.

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