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Gurugram residents pay 40 times more as water mafia rakes it in

Deepak Bansal, a resident of Monsoon Breeze in Sector 78, said that in the absence of any assured source of potable water, residents are forced to turn toward the very forces they oppose.

gurgaon Updated: Jun 11, 2019 03:55 IST
Prayag Arora-Desai
Prayag Arora-Desai
Hindustan Times, Gurugram
water mafia,GMDA,MCG
The primary reason for people’s frustration in this situation is economic. While the GMDA’s current water tariff is ₹9.45 per kilolitre of canal water, residents end up paying as much as 40 times that amount to private suppliers. (Yogendra Kumar/HTPhotos)

As the city’s water mafia continues to rake in significant profits, and the administration reels under the pressure of depleted water security, citizens of Gurugram, particularly in the developing sectors along the Dwarka Expressway, are feeling cheated of the dream of living in the Millennium City.

In the past year, the Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) has implemented major infrastructural changes, including laying pipelines to take canal water to sectors 58-67, and sectors 90-115. The supply capacity of its two water treatment plants (WTPs) at Basai and Chandu Budhera have also been augmented to pump out an additional 50-60MLD, GMDA officials said.

“And yet, our taps are running dry,” said Yashasvi Mathur, the resident of a high-end condominium in Sector 67. “Either there is a shortage of water, which we don’t know about, or there is a mafia at large which the city administration isn’t able to reign in. What else could be the explanation?” she asked.

Deepak Bansal, a resident of Monsoon Breeze in Sector 78, said that in the absence of any assured source of potable water, residents are forced to turn toward the very forces they oppose.

“In our society, we mainly get water from GMDA’s tankers. However, when the situation gets bad, we also have to rely on private tankers,” he said, adding that even though they are opposed to the idea, extenuating circumstances force them to buy water from dubious sources.

The primary reason for people’s frustration in this situation is economic. While the GMDA’s current water tariff is ₹9.45 per kilolitre of canal water, residents end up paying as much as 40 times that amount to private suppliers.

An RWA president from a developing sector, where canal water supply has not reached as yet, requesting anonymity, said that residents in his condominium were paying as much as ₹400 for a kilolitre from illegal tankers. He explained that these tankers usually arrive early morning, or at night, for transferring water to the society’s underground tanks.

“As tax-paying citizens, we are owed this utility at the official rate of ₹10 per kilolitre,” he said. Taking even the conservative estimate of 100 litres being consumed per capita daily, it would mean that a family of four uses close to 12 kilolitres per week, at a cost of ₹5,000 per month, which is incorporated into the their monthly maintenance charges.

“These are only very conservative numbers, and even they can put a huge financial strain on citizens who chose to live in newer sectors because of higher property prices near the city centre,” the RWA president said.

Besides, many residents believe that the GMDA’s augmented water supply has not helped offset people’s reliance on the mafia. In Sectors 58 to 67, for example, canal water supply officially began last year, but frequent sabotaging of the master pipeline by miscreants is only worsening their predicament.

According to a GMDA official familiar with the matter, there have been at least six to seven such incidents reported from newer sectors since November last year.

“Our canal water supply for sectors 99-115 started in November. Since then, three or four incidents of sabotage have taken place near sectors 109-110A,” the official said. Moreover, in April and May, pipelines to sectors 58-67 were damaged twice, in addition to two similar attempts in February near Sector 61. “This is a clear indication that tanker suppliers think canal water supply is a threat to their business,” the official added.

First Published: Jun 11, 2019 03:55 IST