Their taps have remained dry for the past nine months
If you’re complaining about the occasional water shutdown in your area, spare a thought for the residents of Andree Road, particularly 13 families living on the stretch from the Langford Road junction to the Yellamma Dasappa Hospital in Shantinagar. They haven’t received a drop in their taps in nine months.
These residents, who have already been enduring irregular water supply for the last eight years, recently shot off a letter to S. Suresh Kumar, Minister for Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB), after their countless letters and complaints evoked no positive action.
Located hardly a kilometre away from the Johnson Market BWSSB service station (from where water is supplied to the entire area), this road falls under the core areas that are supplied Cauvery water, but these families are forced to depend entirely on private suppliers.
“We have written innumerable complaints, called up the BWSSB helplines several times, sent repeated SMSs to officials and followed up regularly, but there has been no response,” said Debashis Ganguli, a resident of Andree Road.
Ironically, residents of the adjacent slum get uninterrupted water supply. “How is it possible that of the two adjacent areas that share the same latitude, only one has water problems? We fail to understand the discrimination and injustice,” said Mr. Ganguli.
Consequently, Andree Road residents buy water from private suppliers. “It is very difficult to always get tankers,” said Rajni (name changed), who has been living here for the last 13 years.
The families spend around Rs. 6,000 to Rs. 8,000 a month to pay private suppliers whose tankers turn up on alternate days. “It is not that we can afford it, but we have no other choice,” said Ms. Rajni. “We don’t understand the authorities’ explanation attributing the shortage to low pressure. We have contacted everybody, right from the lineman, junior engineers to higher authorities, including the BWSSB chairman.”Shruti (name changed), another resident said a junior assistant engineer with the BWSSB went to the extent of asking them to buy tanker water as “you are rich people and can afford it”, instead of solving the problem.
“We pay our taxes sincerely and ask for just water, nothing else,” said Arun Gupta (name changed).
When contacted, Hemant Kumar, Assistant Engineer, BWSSB, Johnson Market, said he was recently posted there. “But I have studied the area and found that the water levels are very low. The area is on a higher altitude and so there is a pressure problem. But [I understand] a proposal [to address the problem] was sent to the BBMP six months ago.”
He further said a separate pumping line could help. “This is being planned for the entire pocket and Andree Road will also be a part of it,” he added.