The rumours about Delhi Jal Board (DJB) tanker drivers selling off the water they carry, instead of delivering it, were true after all. A high-tech system installed six months ago by the board to keep an eye on its drivers has caught some of them red-handed.
The gadget showed that these tankers routinely deviated from the route they were expected to take to deliver free water to various localities. The drivers sold the water to ice factories.
The DJB has installed the Global Positioning System (GPS) on 229 of its 250 water tankers. Officials can now track the movement of these vehicles minute-by-minute through satellite signals. A private company has been given a three-year service contract to install, operate and maintain the GPS for Rs 2.9 crore.
Arun Mathur, chief executive officer, DJB, said, “At any given point we now know how many of our tankers are standing idle, or if they are being used properly. We have already initiated action against six tanker drivers who were indulging in foul play, like deviating from their route and not delivering water where it was required.”
Another DJB official said, “After investigating, we found that water was being sold to factories. These cases were mainly reported from outer Delhi areas like Najafgarh and parts of west Delhi.”
The failure of DJB tankers to deliver water is a common grouse of city residents. B.K. Mukherjee, a member of the Royal Cooperative Society, Rohini, said, “Every time there is water problem in our area — which is often — and we call up the DJB water control room, we are put on a long waiting list. Sometimes we have to wait for 24 hours. This has forced us to rely on private tankers. They charge Rs 1,500 per tanker, despite the fact that they are supposed to provide water free of cost.”
The DJB is now planning to install the GPS in private water tankers too.