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Water tanker strike hits east Bengaluru amid lockdown over coronavirus scare

With areas like Panathur and Varthur in Mahadevapura zone being the worst hit, residents are left with no access to water. What has compounded the problem is that most of them are now working from home due to the ongoing lockdown in the city because of coronavirus.

Written by Ralph Alex Arakal | Bengaluru |
March 17, 2020 5:53:56 pm
Water tanker strike hits east Bengaluru amid lockdown over coronavirus scare Meanwhile, representatives of Varthur Rising, a civic activist group, spoke to BWSSB chairman Tushar Girinath to sort out the issue.

As summer kicks in, residents of east Bengaluru – especially in residential areas adjacent to the tech corridor in the city – are facing acute water shortage with private water tankers owners going on a strike.

With areas like Panathur and Varthur in Mahadevapura zone being the worst hit, residents are left with no access to water. What has compounded the problem is that most of them are now working from home due to the ongoing lockdown in the city because of coronavirus.

Echoing the sentiments of thousands of residents in the area, Elan Kulandaivelu, a resident of Mahadevapura, blamed the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) and Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) officials for “failing to foresee the situation”.

“The civic body and the water board should not have allowed multiple constructions to take place in the area even when they were aware that the area had no source of water to cater to such a booming population,” he said.

The situation worsened on March 9 after the Hosakote tahsildar issued an order prohibiting private water tankers from fetching water from borewells in Harohalli, Kotur, and Muthsandra villages.

HA Nagaraja Rao, President of Bangalore Apartments’ Federation, called it a ‘knee-jerk action’, especially at a time when the demand for water is higher than usual.

“In our meeting with the tanker suppliers association, we were informed that their power supply has been cut off by the order of the Tahsildar. This action is knee-jerk and has been implemented without consideration on the effect it can cause on the supply of an essential service, especially in a scenario where the government has failed to provide it in the first place,” he said.

However, Bengaluru East Private Water Suppliers Association claimed they have requested the Hosakote tahsildar and other officials to relax the notification on fetching water. “Else, they should impose the order for the entire Hosakote taluk as it appears to be a selective approach only to curb us from working,” a private water tanker representative said.

Meanwhile, representatives of Varthur Rising, a civic activist group, spoke to BWSSB chairman Tushar Girinath to sort out the issue. “The BWSSB has asked us to arrange for tankers by ourselves, holding the rates at the standard Rs 60 per kilolitre until March 31. It was also pointed out that BBMP can impose Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) to ensure uninterrupted water supply as it falls under the same,” a representative told Indianexpress.com.

With the private water tanker operators calling off the strike temporarily for three days, residents are hopeful that the standoff between the civic body, water supply body, and the operators ends soon.

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