Bengaluru, India’s tech capital, is experiencing perhaps the worst water crisis the city has ever seen in decades.

Among the measures being taken are applying work-from-home (WFH) for employees, people shifting to places with better water facilities, limiting baths to just alternate days and more, the city’s residents are limited by several restrictions and dependent on water tankers to supply water.

DK Shivakumar, Karnataka’s Deputy Chief Minister speaking about the crisis said “In the last 30-40 years, we had not seen such a drought. Although there were droughts earlier, we had never declared such a large number of taluks as drought-affected.”

Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar, however, has denied any water crisis in Bengaluru saying “As far as Bengaluru is concerned, there is no water crisis. Only about 7,000 borewells have dried. We have made alternative arrangements for them. We have taken control of water tankers. We have identified the water sources. We will see that water is supplied.”

But in the midst of this, an investigation has revealed there to be a water mafia in the region.

Is There A Water Mafia In Bengaluru?

An investigation by India Today revealed that illegal borewell extraction, profiteering schemes, and more are being used to earn hefty profits from people being desperate for water by an underground network or the water mafia.

As per the investigation, it was found that a water tanker mafia is quite prevalent in the South Bengaluru region and is doing its work without proper government registration and crossing legal limits.

An India Today reporter pretending to be a marble trader spoke with a man called Lokesh who had installed a borewell in the Jigani industrial area and learned that the man had priced the water at Rs. 600 for 6,000 litres even though his tanker was not registered under the new government rules.

When the journalist asked “Can you supply water for a marble-cutting factory?” Lokesh answered “Yes, from the borewell,” adding “It’s Rs 600 for 6,000 litres.”

“Is your tanker registered under new government rules?” the reporter asked. “No,” Lokesh replied.

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As per reports, new borewells must get permission before setting it up, and drinking water usage for non-drinking reasons has been banned under the new regulations.

However, according to the India Today expose “Tankers were observed brazenly filling up from boring pumps in villages outside Bengaluru, with one operator, Raju, admitting to supplying water to a granite factory for its cutting unit, with demand reaching as high as 20-30 tankers daily.”

Guruprakash, another person involved in this work said that bribes to local officials allowed them to bypass the regulations and dig up borewell saying “It costs around Rs 2 lakhs (in bribes for one borewell). We paid 3-3.5 lakhs for deeper digging.”

This is not the first time that the water mafia of Bengaluru has been a point of conversation. In October of 2023, a sewage diversion channel breach of the Varthur Lake, where sewage water entered the water, was suspected to be the work of the ‘water tanker mafia’ or those associated with illegal borewells and water tanker supplies by activists and residents.

Ashok Mruthyunjaya, president of AAP, Mahadevapura unit, in a New Indian Express report, said that “Some residents are scared to speak up, but face problems due to the water tanker ‘mafia’ in Mahadevapura, and file anonymous complaints over calls, requesting not to disclose their details.”

He further commented on how Bellandur or the Balagere village areas were supposedly big businesses for the tank suppliers and bore-well digging companies.

Image Credits: Google Images

Feature image designed by Saudamini Seth

Sources: India Today, New Indian Express, Livemint

Find the blogger: @chirali_08

This post is tagged under: Bengaluru Water Crisis, Bengaluru water mafia water crisis, Bengaluru water mafia, water crisis, Bengaluru, Bengaluru news, bengaluru water crisis news, bengaluru water shortage, bangalore water, bangalore water crisis, bangalore water scarcity, bangalore water problem, bangalore water mafia

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