Private water tankers, though illegal in the city unless hired by the Delhi Jal Board, became south Delhi’s lifeline during the recent water crisis.
The Delhi Jal Board banned private tankers when the new government took office last year. Water filling stations, as per rules, are under the control of DJB and only tankers hired or owned by the utility can fill water and supply it.
Though illegal, getting private water tankers is not a problem. Number of suppliers can easily be found with the touch of a button. Their phone numbers are listed on websites that specialize in providing service-related information.
For residents, though, the matter of legality or illegality becomes irrelevant at the time of a crisis.
“We ultimately have to rely on private tankers as they are easy to catch hold of and they also supply water to second or third floors using booster pumps,” said SS Gupta, president of Hauz Khas DDA Apartments RWA.
A 4000-litre water tanker costs R1,000, residents in Sangam Vihar say. The area has battled water shortage for decades. Water pipelines have been laid in a few blocks, but any fault hits the area hard.
“There is no water supply in the lanes and people fight over water when the DJB tanker comes to area. And during peak summers the frequency of the tankers has also reduced. As a result, we are forced to make alternative arrangements to fulfill our requirement,” said a resident. He alleged that water being supplied through tankers meant for free distribution in the area is being sold.
Delhi Jal Board CEO Keshav Chandra says the board has requested people to not pay private tankers. “Any tankers, other than those hired by us are illegal,” he says.
The demand, however, remains huge.
When residents went to DJB office during the crisis earlier this week, the officials’ tabled were full of applications.
“I visited the DJB’s substation at RK Puram to request for supply through a water tanker, but the situation was maddening there. Already 100 requests for supplying water tankers were lying in front of these officials. Initially they refused to help us but a lot of requesting they supplied just 1,000 litres of water in our area and that too in the evening,” said Anil Marwah, president of R block RWA, Hauz Khas Enclave.