Asks BBMP to allocate Rs. 25 lakh for each ward for upkeep
Stung by criticism over poor maintenance of water and drainage lines, the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) has asked the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to set aside Rs. 25 lakh for repair and maintenance in each ward in its budget next week.
A top BWSSB official, who confirmed this to The Hindu, said at least 37 per cent of the 900 million litres of water per day (mld) supplied to the city literally goes down the drain due to old and rusty pipes laid decades ago, especially in old areas.
While 15 per cent goes waste because of pipe and joint leaks and corroded connections, the official said no one knows where the remaining 22 per cent vanishes.
If the BWSSB is able to curb the wastage, it will save at least 250 mld, which can cater to nearly two lakh more households.
“The 7,500-km drinking water pipeline network criss-crossing the city carries 900 mld water to 6.1 lakh households. These lines need regular maintenance and sometimes replacement, especially in areas where they have corroded. It has been difficult for us to take up maintenance as our monthly revenue of nearly Rs. 40 crore is just enough to pay power bills and employees' salaries,” the official explained.
“The city has a UGD (underground drainage) network of 5,000 km and 1.2 lakh manholes, and over 75 per cent of these need regular maintenance and replacement. There are frequent complaints of overflowing manholes because of the clogged and corroded drainage lines,” he said.
This proposal, which is most likely to be part of the BBMP budget for 2011-12, is also being favoured by councillors in all the 198 wards.
“A separate allocation will avoid our going to the BWSSB for every small repair,” said Basavanagudi councillor B.S. Satyanarayana.
With the city facing water scarcity every summer, the water board is being criticised by councillors in every BBMP council meeting.
Last year, the then Mayor, S.K. Nataraj, had asked BWSSB assistant executive engineers to coordinate with the respective councillors to sort out water supply and sanitation problems. But lack of funds was a major issue and work was always delayed.
Chamarajpet councillor B.V. Ganesh said clogged drains and overflowing manholes were a major problem in most wards in old Bangalore.The former Opposition Leader in the BBMP council M. Nagaraj, representing Galeyara Balaga ward, who backs the proposal, said the funds should be used solely for that purpose and not diverted for any other work.