Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar said that almost 20 per cent of Bengaluru got water from tankers, highlighting concerns of rising water scarcity in the state.
Shivakumar, who is also Bengaluru Development Minister, said this in Assembly during the Question Hour in response to MLA C K Ramamurthy’s query over not supplying Cauvery water to a few slums in his constituency of Jayanagar.
More than 5,000 houses are dependent on borewells for their water needs, he said.
Shivakumar said that since 2017, the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) is providing 10,000 litres of water per month in 103 slums of the city. Increasing the area of supplying Cauvery water in the city is hindered by problems, such as revision of water fare, he said.
“For 11 years, since 2013, we have not been able to increase water rates despite the hike in power bills and other expenditure (of BWSSB),” he said, attributing the delay in revision of rates to ‘political reasons’.
Deputy Leader of Opposition Arvind Bellad asked Shivakumar how come the tanker lorries were supplying water in the city when the government has complained of delay in extending the supply to new areas of Bengaluru and other issues. “Tankers get water. Tanker lobbies get water. Then why is it a problem for the government to provide water to the people,” he said, urging Shivakumar to break the tanker lobby in the city.
Deputy CM Shivakumar said that though tankers supplied water, it was not the Cauvery water supplied by BWSSB.
“Tankers don’t get Cauvery water. They get it from borewells, fill it in the tanks and sell it. Almost 20 per cent (of the city) tankers are supplying water, may it be factories or others,” he said.
The government, he said, was firm on the Mekedatu project to find a major solution to the issue. The Mekedatu dam project to build a dam on Cauvery river close to Tamil Nadu was an issue of contention between the two states for years.