Tuesday, 30 December 2014


Most of the bore wells in and around Bangalore is dried Some intelligent people who own a small piece of land dig very deep and huge bore well to do water tanker business are the cause of drying the other bore wells in around that area.
One resident claims that water supplier continuously selling water for two years in his area has become the owner of a multi-storied Apartment which has been constructed on his land. This gives an insight about the quantum of money he has earned and saved after meeting all his other necessities in two years, with no liability to Income tax or any other local taxes. Whereas the BWSSB not charging anything for these bore wells since it is on a vacant land and is not registered. On the other hand the dried bore wells of residents/apartments continuously receiving the bills for bore well even though it is not yielding any water.
Due to this lucrative income, private water suppliers have mushroomed across the city, and who come to your rescue in times of crisis.
The vast part of the namma Bengaluru depends on the water they supply. Some of us like to believe the public authorities when they try to deny the existence of ‘Organised group’ in managing water or garbage but their existence is a reality. They exercise a form of ‘public authority,’ by controlling the water supply? What is not clear is how mafia authority is enacted and maintained and, in particular, the relationships of mafias’ share with 'the state’.
Water tanker operators are often backed by the local corporator, the legislator, or a powerful politician. In some cases, political patronage is open. In others, patrons operate in the shadows. These groups have strict unwritten demarcated territories to operate.

Most of the colonies mushroomed on the outskirts of Bangalore are totally dependent on the ground water supply only. The BDA has not recognised approximately 90% of residential settlements at Bangalore’s periphery – around 500 square km and a population of two million – have developed the way they have, and considered as  'unauthorised’.
Certain residential layouts acquire greater legitimacy than others through the exercise of public authority. The local governments accept the property taxes paid by informal resident, tacit sanction from an urban authority, investment in roads or water supply by a local politician, or protection offered through networks of political actors.
All settlements exhibit varying shades of legality and tenure security, dependingon the sanctioning authority. In fact, even the so-called formal BDA layouts possess varying shades of legality. Due to this fluid situation that water tanker has been able to flourish and service the majority of peripheral settlers. The key to the success of Water tanker owners is their complicity in both water and land regimes. From the early 1990s, the deregulation of land has fostered crony capitalism in the real estate sector, and has provided ample opportunity for speculative and exploitative land deals. This has further bolstered the authority of water mafias.
The BWSSB services approximately 5 lakh domestic connections with 900 million litres a day of treated water from the Cauvery River, only 10-30% of households at the city periphery have access to BWSSB’s water. Here, most depend almost entirely on groundwater sourced from household bore wells, municipal or village bore wells, and water tanker suppliers to meet their domestic needs.
The water tanker owners are tapping the aquifer quite indiscriminately in the absenceof groundwater regulation. This has encouraged households, apartment complexes, commercial establishments and water tanker businesses to tap the natural resources. The average consumption of ground water is estimated over 600 million litres per day in Bangalore, which is approximately half of BWSSB’swater supply. Over the years, water table has plummeted.
The domestic bore wells are not on public domain on where tanker businesses source their groundwater from based on their customer requirements. An estimate by the BWSSB suggests that there are around 200 private water tanker businesses in the city, each operating two to three tankers. The Tanker business work round the clock, making delivers to 15-20 houses per day at approximately Rs.250-300 per load which may contain approximately 4000 litres of ground water.  On an average he middle class people spends around Rs.1000 to 1500/- per month for procuring water from the tanker business. They generally use only tractors in order to approach informal settlements through unpaved and rough roads.
Running a tanker business is lucrative. The inputs are virtually free. Only a mobile phone and one or two water tankers are enough. On a typical day, a tanker owner operating in a densely populated residential area can make around Rs 8,000-12,000 depending on how many tankers he owns. If the business is able to pump groundwater through subsidised electricity or diesel-powered generators, the only cost is the diesel required to fuel trucks or tractors. Since diesel is also subsidised, profit margins can be quite substantial.

Territorial discipline:

Like any other business they too have stiff competition. So they want to have this competition within their territory and they will not step in to others territory. There is unwritten agreement to maintain their jurisdictional territories. They too have strong customer base. They claims to be social workers since they help the citizens neglected by the authorities. They have friends in administration and elected representatives on whose patronage they enjoy.

Artificially creating scarcity to maximize their business.

The tanker operators also collude with lower-level officials to restrict water supply so that they could offer the alternative and payments from consumers were shared with these officials. There is no difference between a politician and people like water tanker operators. Because once you have money, you can get power and become something, and once you have power you can get more money. Power is very necessary. That is the game of the day to become powerful politician and vice-versa.  

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