They are charging exorbitant rates to deliver water in the city.
Due to scanty rain some parts of Mumbai are undergoing severe water scarcity. Tanker mafia is making the most of the ongoing water shortage problem in the city as they are charging exhorbitant money to supply water to residents. Around 13,000 water tankers are operating in the city.
Out of the seven lakes that supply water to Mumbai, two were below their lowest drawable levels last week itself and a third has gone below its mark a couple of days back. BMC officials are planning to impose 20 per cent water cut and if that isn’t done soon, then the quantum of hike would be 25 per cent.
Of the seven Modak Sagar, Tansa, Vihar, Tulsi, Bhatsa and Middle Vaitarna Middle and Upper Vaitarna were below their lowest drawable levels last week, and Vihar has joined them too. A study of the other four lakes reveals that even they are close to their lowest drawable levels.
Due to scarcity of water Mumbaikars have no other option left besides hiring tanker services. Taking opportunity of the water crisis in the city the tanker mafia has increased the rates from 800-1000 rupees and from 1,600 to 2000 rupees.
A water tanker supplier spoke to AV on the condition of anonymity and said, “Water tanker operators supply water to the housing societies in multi-storey buildings while another mafia operates in slums. They steal water from the BMC pipeline with the assistance of local goons. There is an alleged nexus between tanker mafia, BMC officials, Hydraulic department, police and local politicians. Since tanker owners have to pay hefty sum to all mediators hence he too supplies water to residents at exorbitant rates.”
Following an official complaint from the Mira-Bhayander Municipal Corporation (MBMC), the Kashimira police registered a case under section 379 of the IPC against three tanker operators for illegally drawing water with the help of diesel fuelled pumps from the Jari-Mari municipal lake in the Janata Nagar area of Kashimira on June 1, 2013. Despite being provided with the registration number of all the three water tankers, the investigators have failed to identify the vehicles, exposing their insensitivity and unwilling attitude to book the culprits.
Mumbaikars have no option but to pay the excessive rates demanded by the water tanker owners. “The water tanker mafia has seized the opportunity provided by the BMC to exploit us to the fullest” a Kashimira resident spoke to us on the condition of anonymity.
“Tankers owners are charging exorbitant sums to impoverish us who don’t have recourse but to pay” the resident further added.
“Water tanker mafia operates in their allocated framed area. They don’t encroach in other areas where already their counterparts are functioning.” informed a water supplier.