Tankers cash in on water shortage, residents protest extra charges
Water tankers are much in demand in the city owing to the shortage of water supply in several areas. In order to ensure that such areas have an alternative, water tankers are used to supply water from where it is available to where it is required.
Realising t hat t he service is very crucial, both City and Industrial Development Corporation (Cidco) and NMMC have made provisions for it. However, several private contractors have now jumped into the fray and are reportedly taking advantage of the situation and fleecing the residents.
With Morbe dam filled to just 45% of its capacity, the NMMC has decided to implement a water cut of up to 25% in the city to ensure that the water supply lasts till June.
While the city earlier received 420 mld water every day, the supply has come down to 320 mld at present.
Some areas did not receive water for two to three days. The water tankers, each of which has a capacity of 10,000 litres, supply water from various water tanks, wells and borewells.
There are around 16 water - supply contractors under the NMMC jurisdiction who seem to have formed a cartel. There are a number of complaints from residents against them.
Mangesh Chitale, a resident of Kopar Khairane, said, “We are wondering if we have to depend on tankers in December itself for a basic necessity like water, which has been commercialised, how will we survive till June?”
It is not possible for every resident to purchase water. Therefore, they contact their local corporator and ask for supply through the water tankers. The NMMC has just one tanker of its own and hence residents have to depend on private tankers.
Several hotel owners and developers too source water from the tankers. Owing to the high demand, the tanker owners have hiked their price.
While Cidco has eight water tankers, no money is to be charged for supply through them in Cidco areas. The water is supplied at the earliest following the demand from any colony. Yet, the tanker owners ask for varied amounts from the residents.
The charges vary from Rs1,500 to Rs3,000 per tanker. Around 25- 30 tankers in Kamothe are doing brisk business, supplying water to the residents and making huge sums.
Girish Rao, a resident of Kopar Khairane, said: “The charges for water tankers have no basis at all. Rs3,000 is demanded for even short distances. The contractors know that we need water desperately and so charge according to the situation and not what is the norm.”
NMMC officials said they are looking into the complaints and will issue instructions to the contractors. NMMC executive engineer (water supply) Arvind Shinde said, “NMMC has only one water tanker. It is used to supply water where there is acute shortage.