Bethamangala residents oppose handing over reservoir to CMC

Bethamangala residents oppose handing over reservoir to CMC

BONEOFCONTENTION: A view of the Bethamangala reservoir which supplies water to Kolar Gold Fields. DH Photo

Karnataka Water Supply and Drainage Board had been supplying water to KGF since 1975. The original source of water - Betamangala reservoir - has dried up after 2007 and water supply was being managed with about 139 borewells. As much as 30  litres per capita per day was being supplied to the City. However, owing to irregular supply, the customers too have not been paying water tax regularly. Drained of the income source, the Board has been finding it difficult to meet maintenance expenses. It had become impossible to provide basic facilities such as leave, uniform and other perquisites to the staff.

The Managing Director of the Board and Kolar Deputy Commissioner had cited the above reasons, in a letter addressed to Directorate of Municipal Administration, conveying the decision to handover the water supply to KGF Municipality. Consequently, the Kolar Executive Engineer has asked the Betamangala sub-division officers to furnish the details such as staff strength, the arrears of salary and amount overdue to contractors towards work executed for the Board.

Municipal president Rasheed Khan has welcomed the decision. ìIf it is for the benefit of the people, there need not be any worry on the expenditure front. The City Municipality is prepared to take up the responsibility,he said.

He further said the record of the Water Supply Board has not been ìsatisfactory.î He complained that the Board had not been treating the water before supplying it to public and not taking up the repair of defunct borewells. Even valvemen were not being paid their honourarium. He claimed that the municipality had been spending more sum than the Board for water supply. Municipal commissioner Yarrappa said a decision on maintaining the water supply would be taken at the next meeting of the municipality.
However, the residents of Betamangala are up in arms on the proposed move. Even as struggle is being waged to grant taluk status to Betamangala, there is no question of handing over the reservoir to KGF municipality, Gram Panchayat member Lakshminarayana said.

Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee president Dr Krishnamurthy said several people of Betamanagala have sacrificed their land and buildings for construction of the reservoir and as such there was no question of handing it over.

Former Gram Panchayat president Inayathulla Sharief said a similar proposal was floated during his tenure and it was opposed. There will be no change in the stance, he said.
Zilla Panchayat member Narayanamma Narayanaswamy too has expressed her opposition to the move. She recalled that a struggle was waged for the same cause ten years ago and the same would be repeated if the proposal was not dropped.
Thus, the proposal by the Water Supply Board has stirred a hornetís nest. The capacity of the municipality - technical and monetary - to maintain the water supply to assumes significance in this regard.

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