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Pipe illa, Neer Kodi, Neeve Kodi - Water Justice for Bengalurueans #right2water

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Pipe illa. Neer kodi. Neeve kodi.

Water Justice for Bengalureans

An Appeal to the Chief Minister of Karnataka and the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) from the Citizens of Bengaluru.

Dear Respected Chief Minister of Karnataka State and the Chairman of BWSSB,

Greetings from Nav Bharat Democratic Party.

Right to Water is Right to Life under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. Every citizen of India has an equal Right to Water. Water is a common resource and belongs to the people. Government is the custodian of this resource and must ensure the equitable distribution of such commons.

We find that the Government of Karnataka and the BWSSB have failed in their duty to safeguard the Right to Water. We the people of Bengaluru are victims of unplanned water management which has lead to a severe ongoing water crisis. We are being denied our Fundamental Right to Water due to delays in pipeline supply, leaving many of us to consume toxic ground water.

BWSSB's mandate is to supply water to 800 sqkm in Bengaluru; unfortunately, the body appears to think that its mandate is to supply Cauvery water only. Consequently, BWSSB has abdicated its responsibility of providing water from all available resources to citizens, and the Government of Karnataka has failed to check this. The result is a flourishing illegal water tanker business in the city, popularly known as "Bengaluru's Water Mafia". We have observed that the Water Mafia's nefarious activities include stealing water from BWSSB taps and tankers, and lifting ground water without permission. By law, ground water belongs to the people. The Water Mafia is stealing what belongs to the general public and selling their resource back to them at exorbitant prices. This amounts to a socio-economic fraud engineered to swindle citizens of a resource that is their right, and cannot be permitted to occur in the Indian democracy.

Several areas under the jurisdiction of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) are not receiving water from the BWSSB. When we question the BWSSB about this lapse in water supply, their typical reply is that they don't provide water because pipelines are yet to be laid in these areas. This answer is unacceptable, because citizens have asked for water and not for pipes. BWSSB must provide water to these areas, even in the absence of pipelines, because the residents of these areas have paid the water fee when obtaining building approval.

BWSSB has on earlier occasions provided water through tankers to areas where pipeline work was in progress. Similarly, BWSSB must also provide water to those BBMP areas where pipelines are yet to be established.

At the recent "Right to Water Summit, Bengaluru 2017" organised by the Nav Bharat Democratic Party, several urban experts discussed practicable solutions to the city's ongoing water crisis. We summarize them here, and urge you to implement these at the earliest:

1. Without waiting to establish pipelines, BWSSB should hire water tankers, and provide treated water to citizens at a fixed price.

2. If Cauvery water is insufficient, then lift ground water through borewells and treat it in the same manner as Cauvery water.

3. Make all private water tanker owners register themselves with the BWSSB, and monitor the source, quality and pricing of their water. Since in this case citizens are being compelled to purchase private water, BWSSB must return to citizens the water fee that has been collected from them under the promise of water supply by the government.

4. Develop alternative sources of water through rainwater harvesting, lake rejuvenation and ground water recharging.

Water delayed is water denied. We strongly urge you, honourable Chief Minister of Karnataka and Chairman of BWSSB, to shoulder due responsibility and deliver Water Justice to Bengaluru. We await your early announcement of a Water Policy for Bengaluru.

Pipe Illa, Neer Kodi, Neeve Kodi.

In Service,
Anil Shetty
National President,
Nav Bharat Democratic Party,

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