The 'Silicon Valley' Bengaluru faces unprecedented water crisisIANS

The water problem in Bengaluru goes from severe to dire, with private water tankers even trebling the prices in some localities in the past 2-3 weeks. In order to prevent the tanker cartel from exploiting the crisis, on Thursday Bengaluru Urban District Administration capped the price for each load based on the capacity and distance from where it is supplied.

According to the new rate card, which also includes GST and has not been exempt from it, 6,000 litres of water supplied within 5 km will cost Rs 600. The same water supplied within 10 kms will cost Rs 750. The new rate card immediately came into force and the administration maintains that capping of prices is a bold move by the government.

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Representative imageIANS

Capping of water tankers

Aimed at reducing the harassment faced by residents at the hands of tanker cartel, the government's move however has come in for criticism from private operators. They maintain that the prices fixed by the government are, "too low," given the operational costs involved in finding active borewells among the already dried large number of borewells. Earlier private operators were charging up to Rs 2000 per tanker.

There are 10,995 borewells supplying around 400 MLD of water, Out of these 1,240 borewells are said to be at the risk of drying up sooN. Last week Dy CM DK Shivashankar said borewell at his home dried up too. Reportedly, many of the borewells, especially in the tech corridor area have dried up. There are said to be about 3,500 water tankers operating in the city, however out of these only 1,391 have registered with BBMP during the government mandated deadlines between March 1 and March 7. The Palike had opened a portal to allow private tanker owners to register with the government agency as mandated.

120-feet deep borewell
120-feet deep borewellTwitter ANI

The administration says it had to crack down on the tanker cartel after civic agencies like BBMP and Bangalore Water Supply brought the issue to their notice. The civic agencies also started receiving complaints from people about the huge disparity in water tanker prices and the unregulated pricing itself.

In order to effectively implement the measures, the government even started seizing unregistered vehicles, resulting in water supply disruptions. Bengaluru Urban District Deputy Commissioner B Dayananada said the new rate card came into effect from Thursday.

The daily rentals for tankers getting attached to BWSSB are Rs 5,200 for 6,,000L capacity without water and Rs 7,100 rent per day for 12000L capacity tanker without water. The price for a 8,000L tanker has been fixed at Rs 700 (within 5 km radius) and Rs 850 within 10 km radius. For tankers with large capacity of upto 12,000 L the price ranges between Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,200 with the provision of Rs 50 to be collected for every additional kilolitre. The tanker price has been capped at a maximum of Rs 1,200 within a 10 km radius.

The pricing beyond 10 kms has not been stipulated by the administration as BWSSB request is limited to 10 kms. The tanker operators said the pricing is "redundant" as most of the time they have to travel beyond 10 kms to fetch water. The move to cap tanker prices has been welcomed by residents in several sections especially as all the taluks in Bengaluru Urban district have been declared as drought-hit.