Cauvery water supply to 15 villages put on hold

The BWSSB is woefully short of manpower and the model code of conduct has putting a freeze inviting tenders to hire personnel on contract.

Poll promises are harder to keep and that would especially be true in the case of providing Cauvery water to 15 out of the 110 villages added to Bengaluru in 2007.

The reason? The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) is woefully short of manpower to carry out the maintenance work to enable water supply.

Sources said the board does not have valvemen, meter readers and water inspectors, with the model code of conduct putting a freeze on inviting tenders to hire personnel on contract. The code has also prevented the BWSSB from shifting existing workers.

Its engineers have confirmed that preparatory works to commission water supply have been completed in 15 villages — Herohalli, Vallabhanagar, Sonnenahalli, Horamavu, parts of Siddapura, Dasarahalli, Challakere, Kudlu, Naganathapura, Parappana Agrahara, Ganakallu, parts of Uttarahalli, Thubarahalli, Begur and Haralur.

An engineer said trials had also been held and pipelines put to hydrology tests. All that remains now is the commissioning of water supply, which would begin once the board has adequate manpower.

The board is also acting with caution after the hardships to regularise water supply to KR Puram where bowing to pressure from local leaders, it began supply in 2012 without collecting the Beneficiary Capital Contribution (BCC) — the initial amount paid for water connection. By then, people had gotten used to free Cauvery water for over a year.

Now though, the board wants to first put enough staff members to do the maintenance work once the water supply is commissioned.

In March, it had called for tenders to hire over 600 workers, including engineers, but so far, it has only hired clerical workers and is still to call for recruitments for other posts.

The state government made the bold announcement that it would supply water to 110 villages before its tenure gets over. But now it is likely that the faucets can be turned on only after the elections.

But BWSSB Chairman Tushar Girinath refuted claims of manpower shortage and asserted that water supply will be commissioned to 15 villages that have been notified. He said the board had approved 1,500 applications for new connections and water supply would begin soon. 

Still in the pipeline

* BWSSB notified to supply water to 15 villages of 110 villages. 

* So far, 1,500 water connections have been approved by the board.

* Tenders have been called to recruit 600-odd employees. 

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