Bangalore is no arid village of Rajasthan. It’s a city that once boasted of lakes aplenty. However, finding water for daily sustenance seems to be like questing for an oasis.
Epitomising the quintessential dilemma that the City today finds itself in, as it seeks to meet the water demands of its citizenry is Gowramma, all of 45, and a vegetable vendor.
For Gowramma, whose primary concern is to eke out a livelihood, trekking barefoot all the way from City Market to Balekayi Mandi Road, situated half-a-km from her abode of business, for those two plastic bottles of potable water, has become a daily ritual.
A grind she has been into for over 30 years now at the stroke of 6 am before she sits down for her actual business of the day - retail vegetables.
The BBMP, may, however, argue that it has installed water taps at the market to alleviate the vendors’ distress.
With the taps dry, there is hardly a drop of water to quench the minimal demands of the vendors who make the market their home.
In fact, three years ago, the Palike had spent around Rs 30 lakh to install water taps at four locations in and around the market premises.
Taps not working
But sadly, none of them is in working condition, said members of the KR Market Flower Merchants’ Association.
Says Gowramma, “My home is close to the market, but I don’t get water. The water I get from the Mandi is good, but during rainy season, foul smell emanates from it as water turns muddy. Traders maintain that apart from Mandi Road, they get drinking water from Ganesha Temple on B V K Iyengar Road, five minutes away, but there is no set time for its availability.
Sundar Raj, fruit vendor from Magadi Road, gets two large plastic bottles filled with water from home. A few vendors buy water cans paying Rs 40 to Rs 50 for 20 litres of water.
“We pay our rent to the Palike regularly. Then why is it that basic amenities are not provided to us,” Sundar Raj asks.
“In 1998, shops were allotted to traders in the market. Since then, no initiatives have been taken to provide drinking water. There are around 11 to 15 restrooms nestled inside the market and there too, water is not reaching the taps properly,” lamented Association president G M Diwakar.
According to the Association, all traders pay between Rs 250 and Rs 4,500 as monthly rent to the BBMP.
However, according to Joint Commissioner (West Zone) Laxminarasimhaiah, the Palike plans setting up four water tanks, each having 10,000-litre capacity, within the market premises at four different locations. Reverse Osmosis water purification units would also be installed.
They will be connected to tanks through pipelines. Traders as well as visitors could access this facility paying 50 paisa to Re 1 depending on the usage. The proposal is awaiting Commissioner M Lakshminarayana’s approval.
Lakshminarayana, on his part, said steps to improve the market’s condition, including water facility, would be taken once the list prepared by the Joint Commissioner (West) is placed before him.