Business Standard

No pool parties, water balloons on Holi, B’luru turns cautious amid water crisis

- RISHIKA AGARWAL New Delhi, 22 March

No pool parties please and no throwing of water and water balloons this Holi if you are a resident of Bengaluru.

The festival of Holi has become a casualty of the water crisis that has engulfed the city with water officials exhorting residents not to waste water.

The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board wants to conserve every drop of the water of the Cauvery River and borewells. A weak monsoon last year depleted groundwate­r levels, requiring new borewells to be dug deeper to find water.

This has led to a daily shortfall of 200 million litres in water supply. To cope with the shortage, officials have been regulating the supply tightly and fining anyone using water for the garden or for washing cars.

People who had already planned hundreds of Holi parties and events have responded to the plea by cancelling them and embracing a dry Holi to show their commitment to civic duty.

Despite having sold some 400 tickets and staring at a loss of around Rs 5-6 lakh, Varun Kumar Gowda, founder of Varrun Studios, has cancelled his planned celebratio­n called ‘Rang De Bengaluru’ slated for Saturday and featuring rain dancing.

He understood the urgent need to address the water crisis. “Holi can be celebrated every year but we cannot survive without water. We need to address the water crisis first,” said Gowda.

Tejas Gowda, founder of Event* Graduates, said he could not ‘just stand by and see our city suffer’ and he too has cancelled an event which was expected to draw 1,000 people.

"Our event was planned in Kanakapura, a region relatively unaffected by the crisis, but our loyalty lies with Bengaluru, so we decided to pull the plug on it,” said Gowda.

In fact, he had made a point of holding the event at Khedda Resort in Kanakapura precisely because the venue had water treatment plants which meant that every drop of water used for the celebratio­ns would undergo treatment and contribute to the irrigation of the surroundin­g farmland.

Despite this, he has already refunded the ticket amount to the party-goers.

Over 20 events are listed for the Holi weekend on Bookmyshow. While some have been cancelled, the organisers of others are exploring different ways to celebrate.

Sonu B S, founder of SD Events, said he had already stored the water needed for his planned celebratio­n but was in limbo awaiting regulatory approval.

"The water we have stored is already old and if we don't use it, it might eventually go to waste," said Sonu.

If he fails to receive the clearance, Sonu has no choice but to celebrate a dry Holi but he is concerned at the lack of interest in such alternativ­es. "There's no demand. We are seeing a drastic decline in the number of tickets sold,” he said.

In contrast with last year’s turnout of over 1,200 people, this year Sonu expects only around 400.

 ?? ?? People who planned Holi parties have responded to the plea by cancelling events
People who planned Holi parties have responded to the plea by cancelling events

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