Karnataka Assembly debates increasing rates of tanker water supply in Bengaluru | Bengaluru - Hindustan Times
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Karnataka Assembly debates increasing rates of tanker water supply in Bengaluru

PTI | | Posted by Pathi Venkata Thadhagath
Feb 20, 2024 07:29 PM IST

On the issue of water supply, Shivakumar said the BWSSB also draws water from borewells on some occasions and supplies them to people

Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar on Tuesday was drawn into a debate on the rising rates of water supplied by private tankers in Bengaluru after opposition BJP MLAs raised the issue in the state assembly. Shivakumar said that he would consider suggestions by BJP MLAs to fix a rate for water tankers to prevent exploitation of consumers and government takeover of tankers and borewells during summer.

Karnataka Assembly debates increasing rates of tanker water supply in Bengaluru
Karnataka Assembly debates increasing rates of tanker water supply in Bengaluru

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During the debate, he also revealed that water from the Cauvery Fifth stage scheme will be supplied by April or May to the 110 villages newly added to Bengaluru. Raising the issue in the Karnataka assembly BJP MLA B A Basavaraja (Byrathi) demanded that Cauvery fifth stage water should be provided to 110 villages which were added to the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike in 2006. In response, Shivakumar said, “Here we have members from both the parties. If everyone comes to a consensus then I am ready to… (do it). I have no objection over it. It should work out for the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB).” “Cauvery 5th stage will be implemented in April or May,” he added.

On the issue of water supply, Shivakumar said the BWSSB also draws water from borewells on some occasions and supplies them to people, but said that the agency does not have any control over private borewells. “They are also fetching water and supplying. Ultimately they don’t have any control (over private borewells). It (water) is a big business. We could not try for it (to control water tankers). Let there be some relief to the people till the Cauvery water is supplied," he said.

Basavaraja told the House that water suppliers are unable to meet the demand. He pointed out that the tankers were providing water only if residents paid more money. “When there is huge demand, they will increase the rate. Fix a rate like 750-800. It will help people,” the BJP MLA said. Responding to him, Shivakumar said he would convene a meeting soon. “Give me a joint memorandum. We will hold a meeting. You have given a good suggestion. Tanker people are charging 1,500 to 2,000 per tanker. The groundwater too belongs to the government. We have control over it. There are various laws regarding where to drill the borewell. I can consider this request,” he said.

Participating in the discussion, Leader of Opposition (LoP) R Ashoka sought to know what the next course of action would be if there was no water even after existing borewells were redrilled. Ashoka noted that Cauvery water had declined by 30 per cent. As there was no water in borewells, people were demanding Cauvery water, he claimed. “There are restrictions by BWSSB to drill new borewells. You need to remove them. We have four more months to face summer. If it was just one month, we would have adjusted but we have four months to go,” Ashoka said.

Noting that the situation would further deteriorate as the weather department has predicted a rise in temperature by three degrees, the LoP suggested that the government could take over private borewells under the revenue laws and distribute water to everyone. The deputy commissioners at the districts have the power to do this, he said. He suggested that a common agency should be formed using the existing force in the civic agency to bring all the tankers under one network. Responding to him, Shivakumar endorsed it as a valid suggestion and agreed to the demand of controlling the water mafia.

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