All talk, no action on water

thirst threat: Residents of Subhashnagar demonstrate for water at Jakkarayanakere on  Friday. KPNWorried by the rising temperatures and the consequent shortage of water compounding the misery of the City, the corporators on Friday put their heads together to find innovative solutions to the crisis.

Amid a walkout by Congress members, JD(S) and the BJP corporators articulated their concerns and tried to come up with some suggestions, but by the end of a truncated session, only ambiguous assurances were forthcoming.

Suggestions ranged from hiring private water tankers with the BBMP footing the bills, to replenishing the dried up T G Halli reservoir.

Taking a long term perspective on the issue, Manjunath (BJP-Shivanagara) suggested that the BBMP must look at options to draw water from Hemavathi or the Western ghats to replenish the TG Halli reservoir to meet the water needs of the north and west Bangalore.

Nanjundappa (BJP-JP Park) suggested that as an immediate measure, the BBMP hire water tankers wherever there was a scarcity of water.

Speaking after the truncated session, Mayor S K Nataraj stated that the BBMP had allocated Rs 50 crore for resolving the water crisis this year.

 “We have already set aside Rs 50 crore for resolving the water crisis which will be later re-appropriated in the budget. The amount can be disbursed to wards facing acute shortage of water on account of dried up borewells or lack of Cauvery water connection,” he said.

However, Katte Satyanarayana (BJP) said no corporator had come forth and given in writing the need for resolving the water scarcity problems faced in their respective wards.

He said an action plan was drawn up at last month’s meeting with BWSSB minister Suresh Kumar and other corporators to address the water crisis in the coming months.
‘468 borewells dug’

Earlier in the day, BBMP Commissioner Siddaiah said that an action plan for addressing the water shortage issue was being drawn and suggestions were being invited from corporators to prepare it “on or before March 25”.

“The BBMP dug 468 borewells and 484 were dug by the BWSSB. While we have commissioned 415 of these, the BWSSB has given water supply to all its 484 borewells,” he said.

The BBMP Standing Committee on Social Justice has allocated three borewells for each ward under the budgetary allocations of 22.75 percent welfare for SC/ST schemes.

However, there appears to be no clarity on whether the “action plan” is drafted or even taken into account while announcing the allocations towards resolving the water scarcity.

It is unclear how the priority wards will be chosen if borewells and water connections will be provided by the BWSSB. 

Appealing to the 125 corporators of the JD(S) and the BJP present during the discussion on water scarcity, Mayor Nataraj said corporators should set an example by implementing the rain water harvesting system in each of their homes.

“At a time when we are facing the probabilities of water shortage, the corporators must lead from the front and set an example for the rest. Start implementing rain water harvesting system in each of your homes,” he said.

Residents take to streets for water

Deprived of water for more than 20 days, residents of Maruthisevanagar took to streets on Friday against the BWSSB.

As water has not been supplied since February 26, the residents have been forced to buy water from private water tankers, shelling out Rs 300 to Rs 400 per tank.

K Ramesh, the secretary of Karnataka Dalita Rakshana Vedike said: “The residents who have borewells are able to manage. But, the slum dwellers suffer as they are completely dependent on the BWSSB for water.”

The water board did not even take measure to supply water through tanker, he said.
The protesters said they paid water and electricity bills even though they didn’t have title deeds.

But the civic agency lacked concern to supply water to them.

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