Deprived of Yamuna water, Gurugram residents turn to private tankers
The wait for the supply of canal water from the Yamuna continues for people settled in private residential societies, spanning sectors 81 to 115, along the Dwarka Expressway.
There are around 170 residential societies of which 50 are fully and partially occupied — nearly one lakh people shifted around two and a half years ago. The residents are heavily reliant on water supplied by the Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) and also have to fall back on the water mafia, which extracts water illegally from borewells and supplies it though private tankers.
Residents said that the tanker operators have a strong network and enjoy a monopoly in selling water at a princely sum in peak summer. Each tanker is filled with 1,000 litres of water, which is sold for anywhere between Rs 2,000 and Rs 2,500 in summer, residents said. To put this in context, 1,000 litres of water supplied through tankers, by the GMDA, would only cost 7 paise per litre.
Depending on the occupancy rate, the average water bill of every society comes to somewhere between Rs 8 lakh and Rs15 lakh.
Raheja Vedanta, Mahindra Aura, Vatika India Next, Vipul Lavanya, Emaar Palm Garden, Mapsko Paradise, Brisk Lumbini, ATS Kocoon, Ramprastha City, Bestech Park View Ananda are among several societies along the Dwarka Expressway, which enjoy full occupation. However, the residents here don’t have access to canal water supply.
Rohit Malhotra, a resident Vatika India Next, said, “We have been waiting for canal water supply for two years. However, there is a sliver of hope now as the mantle of water supply has passed from the Haryana Shahari Vikas Pradhikaran (HSVP) to the GMDA. Pipelines have been laid along all sector roads for the supply of canal water and developers have applied for water connections. Hence, I don’t see why there should be any delay in the provision of canal water from the Yamuna.”
Developers said they had applied for water and sewer connections with the Haryana government as per norms, two years ago.
SK Bhat, project head, Raheja Vedanta in Sector 108, said, “We applied for water and sewer connections and even met officials on several occasions. However, there’s been no progress on these fronts. We are supposed to get water directly from the Chandubudhera water treatment plant and pipes have been laid right up to the main road. Yet, the authorities continue to drag their feet with regard to providing water connections.”
Residents voiced their misgivings with the GMDA as well.
Yasheesh Yadav, a resident of Mahindra Aura, said, “We get water through tankers from the GMDA. The water is sourced from the Basai treatment plant. The GMDA charges 7 paise per litre for water supplied through tankers, while the supply though the pipeline costs 4 paise per litre. We also have to pay an additional 7 paise per litre as transportation charge to tanker operators.”
Residents lashed out at the GMDA saying it is unwilling to provide water connections.
“Once we get the water connections, the tanker mafia, which makes a killing by selling us water at a hefty price, will go out of business. There is a huge market for the unauthorised tanker operators here and provision of water through rightful channels would hurt them bad. We have done a lot of research on the infrastructure for water supply here and see no reason why there should be a delay in ensuring provision of canal water. There is a pipeline from Sector 102 to Sector 115 and it is fit to be connected to the Chandubudhera plant,” said Rajkumar Khanna, a resident of Sector 108.
He said although the supply by private tankers helps the residents meet their daily household needs, there are concerns over the quality and quantity of water dispensed thus.
All the residential projects along the Dwarka Expressway were launched in 2009-’11 and the government started issuing occupation certificates from 2016 onwards, without making provisions for water and sewer connections.
After the draft rules under the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) were notified on July 28, 2017, it became binding on developers to ensure provision of water and sewer connections before applying for occupation certificates.
Harish Gahlot, chief managing director, Brsik Infra Private Limited, said, “Before the RERA rules were notified, the government issued occupation certificates without ensuring water and sewer connections. However, the RERA has revised the rules since. Now, the local authority has to provide water and sewer connections before the builder can apply for occupation certificates. We applied for water connections in 2016, but the wait continues even to this day.”
The GMDA officials said that they were working to provide water and sewer connections at the earliest.
Lalit Arora, superintending engineer, GMDA, said, “We need to lay a pipeline under Gur Rewari railway line. We have already obtained the nod from the Northern Railway and work is already under way. Once the Railways build a culvert near Dhankot, we would be able to supply water from the Basai plant to many sectors. There were certain technical reasons why we couldn’t supply potable water to sectors 102 to 115. However, now, we are in the process of removing all these hurdles. A corpus of Rs 227 crore has been approved to lay a water pipeline to ensure provision of treated water to these sectors.”
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