Tanker owners call off stir on DJB assurance
The Delhi Jal Board (DJB) on Monday extended an olive branch to the Water Tanker Owners' Association (WTOA), which called off its strike hours after it began in the morning.india Updated: May 07, 2003 16:15 IST
The Delhi Jal Board (DJB) on Monday extended an olive branch to the Water Tanker Owners' Association (WTOA), which called off its strike hours after it began in the morning.
The government has promised a committee to look into the tanker owners' grievances. DJB CEO PK Tripathi called WTOA members for a meeting soon after they assembled at the Board's Karol Bagh headquarters in the morning. Other senior DJB officials and Congress MLA Mukesh Sharma attended the meeting. The WTOA called off the strike as soon as the meeting was over.
Asked whether there would be another strike if the government committee did not address the WTOA's grievances, its president RK Sharma said the next move would be decided only after the committee made its recommendations but he was "hopeful of a positive outcome."
The WTOA wants an increase in tariff, now fixed at Rs 400 for a 16 hours' shift, a hike in reimbursements for diesel and higher rates for all tankers not 15 years old. The vehicle model and year of manufacture now decide the rates. The government seemed inclined to accept the tanker owners' demands.
Chief Secretary Shailaja Chandra said at a press conference: "One can see that the rates are low. We don't want rates that no one can ply by." Principal Secretary (Urban Development) O.P. Kelkar will head the three-member committee that will look into the WTOA demands.
The panel will submit its report in two weeks.
Chandra said the government would invoke the ESMA to ensure smooth supply of water. Strike has no impact in city The tanker owners' strike on Monday did not have any impact on tanker services in the city. The 600 tankers owned and operated by the DJB were pressed into service from 4 a.m., officials said.
The strict vigil that the DJB had been maintaining on private tankers to prevent diversions from stipulated areas is said to be root of the operators' grievances. This ensured that there was no profit to be made on the sly. The rates to which the private operators now object were negotiated and settled in January. If they found the rates, they could have raised the issue then.
INTUC-affiliated employees union' Jal Mal Kamgar Sangharsh Morcha said DJB drivers will ply private tankers in addition to their own vehicles if ESMA is invoked. The DJB owns 597 tankers, while private operators run 400 which supply water to Mehrauli, Najafgarh, Bawana, Nangloi, South Delhi and Shahdara. The tankers together supply 22 million litres of water a day, only a fraction of the total DJB production of 2610 mld. Only 8 mld of water is supplied by private operators. The DJB spends Rs 49 per thousand litres for water supplied by tankers, against Rs 1.50 for piped water.
First Published: May 07, 2003 16:15 IST