App-based system to track tanker water supply 

Govt to use app-based system to track tanker water supply 

The Tanker Management App developed by the Revenue department aims to address the fleecing of consumers by the water tanker owners and contractors. DH Photo for representation only

Karnataka will, for the first time, attempt to scientifically understand the water tanker ecosystem during drought through an app-based system and authorities hope this will help curb contractors fleecing public money by falsely claiming bills. 

The Tanker Management App will be used for all bill payments, according to an order issued jointly by the Revenue and Rural Development and Panchayat Raj (RDPR) departments. 

Tankers play a crucial role in supplying water to the drought-hit areas. Karnataka has already declared 49 taluks across 18 districts as drought-affected, and the government is preparing to deal with drinking water shortage. 

Presently, the government has roped in 65 tankers to supply water to 59 villages and 237 private borewells for 215 villages. Last year, over 2,000 tankers and over 1,800 private borewells were hired to supply water to 2,999 villages. 

“Currently, everything is manual. We want to get into a regime where things happen electronically so that we get data that we can analyze. It’s a step in the right direction,” Revenue (disaster management, Bhoomi & Urban Property Ownership Record) principal secretary T K Anil Kumar told DH.

Rs 70-100 crore spent

According to sources, the government might have spent Rs 70-100 crore last year on tanker water supply. Exact figures are not available because there is no system in place to check. 

Apparently, some contractors claim bills for lesser quantum of water supplied or distance travelled. The app, developed by the Revenue department’s Bhoomi Monitoring Cell, aims to fill this loophole by requiring drivers to upload geo-tagged photos to corroborate their bill claims. 

“The app will get us the data. And then, we will look at expenditure,” Kumar added. 

For borewells, too, the government has introduced reforms to streamline their usage. All bills should now have the latitude-longitude details of borewells.

“We have also said that that if a borewell is defunct, it shouldn’t be abandoned and its materials should be salvaged and used elsewhere,” RDPR principal secretary L K Atheeq said.

“Also, we have asked officials to shift the electricity connection from defunct borewells to the working ones, instead of applying for a new connection each time,” he said.