Gearing up to meet the demand of water for residents, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) found that eight of the 21 water tankers plying on the city roads are 20 years old, much more than their expected life and sought to purchase three tankers to replace them.
In a proposal to purchase new tankers, the civic administration sought permission to discard the vehicles that have completed their life span and purchase three new vehicles.
There are 21 tankers owned by the PMC that are used to supply water to people as per their demand. The oldest tanker is being used for 26 years, since it was pressed into service in 1992. There are three tankers that are being used for the last 23 years, one for 22 years, two for 20 years and one for 19 years. Thereafter, the PMC put a break on including new tankers in the fleet and restarted after 13 years, in 2012, and purchased 13 tankers.
How civic body-run water tankers pose air pollution threat
Surveys by the Pollution Control Board, System of Air Quality Forecasting and Research and other monitoring agencies show that Pune’s air quality is deteriorating. The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) is also using vehicles that are 20 years old or even more, and consume more fuel and lead to pollution. Now, the civic body gearing up to tackle the water shortage has been planning a cut in water supply through its existing network of pipeline, which is all set to increase the demand of supply from tankers. Though, it is trying to buy new tankers, it needs to remove old vehicles from its fleet to ensure that the city air does not get more polluted. In its efforts to meet the water demands of people through tankers, it should not ply the old vehicles and add to the existing air pollution. Moreover, it has a total of 21 tankers for 40 lakh residents, putting a pressure on the existing fleet and providing an opportunity for the private tanker operators to make money, as they demand high charges from people.
As per the state government resolution, the life heavy vehicles used in public would come to an end after running for 2 lakh kilometre or for 10 years. So, the tankers brought into service by the PMC between 1992 and 1999 have completed their life. “The vehicles are breaking down frequently as their life has completed and they also consume more fuel,” said a civic officer.
The water supply department has been asking to increase the number of tankers to meet public demand, he added. “The merger of new villages have increased the demand of water tankers. The PMC is yet to develop a water pipeline network in the newly included area under the civic jurisdiction and residents of the area have been urging the PMC to supply water through tankers to meet their needs.”
“Moreover, the civic administration has to supply water through tankers in case of emergency. The water shortage has impacted the supply through the pipeline in various parts of city. The civic administration has to reduce the supply through pipeline due to limitations,” an officer said.
Guardian Minister Girish Bapat said, “There has been less rainfall this monsoon and it has affected the storage in dams. The water availability in dams is less compared to that during the same time last year. If we want to make the water last till start of next monsoon, then it has to be used judiciously and a closure once in 10 days.”
The irrigation department have locked horns with the PMC over water supply to the city and has few times switched off the civic-run facility to lift the water from the Khadakwasla dam leading to spat between the two government agencies.
The irrigation department has been alleging the PMC of drawing more water than that has been allowed for them while the civic body has been saying that the irrigation department has not made proper calculations to fix the exact need of water supply to city. The water problem has become the political issue in the city with all opposition parties alleging BJP of mismanagement of water supply.