Skip to main content

Mumbai's water tanker mafia, officials in "nexus" despite victory over authorities for water supply to Ambujwadi slum

By Bilal Khan*
After almost 20 years of existence, Ambujwadi, an informal settlement in Malvani, the Mumbai Municipal Corporation (popularly BMC) may have finally recognized the right of the people and conceded to allow water supply to the slum.
The joint efforts of the organized slum dwellers through Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan (GBGBA) for over two years has, no doubt, finally resulted in the beginning of water supply in the slums of Ambujwadi.
However, only two tankers of 10,000 litres each reach Ambujwadi daily, which is then distributed into 500 cans of 40 litres each. This supply is available only to a small fraction of a large population of around 50,000 in Ambujwadi.
Before these tankers were authorized to supply water, residents had to buy water from private sources where each can of 40 litres was priced at Rs 20-25. Residents would complain that the water they bought from private sources stank and was unclean.
They suspected that it was unhygienic and also the cause of many diseases in the slums. The new water supply through the tankers is priced at Rs 7 for every 40 litre can of water.
The BMC, after allowing water tankers in Ambujwadi, has begun creating newer problems with more absurd rules and conditions that weren’t in place earlier. The BMC is demanding licensed water transporters to take up the contract for delivering water in the slum area, the cost of which is beyond the meagre means of the slum dwellers.
The need for licensed water transporters has become a new, mandatory rule set by the BMC recently, which, say residents, has created more hassles and deny the people of Ambujwadi their right to clean, affordable and legal drinking water.
At double the cost of unlicensed water suppliers, the people of Ambujwadi are grappling with the rates enforced by authorized license-holders in order to meet the unnecessary and regressive rules that the BMC has imposed, they point out.
This is suspected to be a conspiracy of the water mafias, who used to sell water at exorbitant rates in nexus with BMC officials, so as to restrict the supply of cheap water and enable water mafias to continue selling water at high rates and of bad quality.
Meanwhile, the residents have taken upon themselves the responsibility of water supply in Ambujwadi. They have formed a voluntary committee, which includes two women and three men.
While women, under the leadership of Nirmala Singh and Shanta Mausi, take care of the accounts and the responsibility of supplying the 500 cans of water, men have begun facilitating the timely arrival of water in Ambujwadi.
Residents feel that there is a need to look to further minimize the cost of water and make it available to every family in Ambujwadi, for which they would require broader support. The need is also felt for a plan of action so that water supply reaches each family in Ambujwadi at the least possible cost.
---
*Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan, Mumbai

Comments

TRENDING

Green revolution "not sustainable", Bt cotton a failure in India: MS Swaminathan

Counterview Desk
In a recent paper in the journal “Current Science”, distinguished scientist PC Kesaven and his colleague MS Swaminathan, widely regarded as the father of the Green Revolution, have argued that Bt insecticidal cotton, widely regarded as the continuation of the Green Revolution, has been a failure in India and has not provided livelihood security for mainly resource-poor, small and marginal farmers.
Sharply taking on Green Revolution, the authors say, it has not been sustainable largely because of adverse environmental and social impacts, insisting on the need to move away from the simplistic output-yield paradigm that dominates much thinking. Seeking to address the concerns about local food security and sovereignty as well as on-farm and off-farm social and ecological issues associated with the Green Revolution, they argue in favour of what they call sustainable ‘Evergreen Revolution’, based on a ‘systems approach’ and ‘ecoagriculture’.
Pointing out that Evergreen Revol…

Rejoinder: Inescapable to have Central Water Commission as strong technical body in India

By BN Navalawala*
This is with reference to Counterview Blog (December 5, 2018), "Modi govt 'shelves' water reforms report, shows 'no interest' in its recommendations", below mentioned are my comments/observations thereon:
A committee was constituted under the Chairmanship of Dr. Mihir Shah, Former Member, Planning Commission, for restructuring of Central Water Commission (CWC) and Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) for optimal development of water resources in the country in the backdrop of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM).

Some Hindu bodies in US defending BJP-RSS' divisive, violent activities: Agnivesh

Counterview Desk Last week, Washington DC saw speakers at a religious freedom roundtable, chaired by the US Ambassador for Religious Freedom, Sam Brownback, express concern over "eroding" space for religious freedom in India. Dr Mike Ghouse, executive director, of the Center for Pluralism in Washington DC, referring to the roundtable, said in an email alert that Indian-Americans have "a moral duty to prevent India from being labeled as a Country of Particular Concern by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)".

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Preventing childhood deaths: India performs worse than Bangladesh, "equals" Pakistan

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released study, “The Pneumonia and Diarrhea Progress Report 2018”, prepared by the International Vaccine Access Centre (IVAC) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, has identified India among 15 other countries which are still far off the mark in achieving the targets of the Global Action Plan for the Prevention of Pneumonia and Diarrhea (GAPPD).

India's rewritten textbooks talk of demerits of democracy, praise Hitler, underrate Mughals

Counterview Desk
A detailed, 3,800-word review of the books rewritten under directions of the BJP rulers across India since Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in May 2014 has suggested that one of aims of the books is to instill a sense of doubt about India’s democratic polity among the country’s young minds. Reviewed in the prestigious US journal, “The New York Review of Books”, in its latest issue (December 6, 2018) by Alex Traub, the scrutiny insists, the effort has also been to paint Indian history from the angle of “Hindu triumphalism”, even as creating “Islamophobia”.

Govt of India "tarnishing" NGO reputation, dossier leaked selectively: Amnesty

Counterview Desk
Amnesty International India has said that a deliberate attempt is being made to tarnish its reputation by leaking a dossier, supposedly made by investigating agencies, to media without giving it access to any such information. The high profile NGO’s claim follows a Times Now report about proceedings launched by investigative agencies, including Enforcement Directorate (ED) against the rights body for “violations” of rules pertaining to overseas donations.

Four children die after poor UP Dalit, Muslim families forced to flee to forest area: PVCHR

Counterview Desk
Peoples’ Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) has said that the forest department police’s crackdown, allegedly without any prior notice, on Dalit and Muslim households in Dakhin Tola, Churk Bazaar, Sonbhadra district, Uttar Pradesh, beating up “children and old people, women, and men in an inhuman way”, has led to “forced displacement, starvation and discrimination”. This has reportedly affected about 350 people.

Social workers, architects, students, historians, common people come together, protest "politics" of renaming Ahmedabad

By Nandini Oza*
No sooner did the BJP leaders of Gujarat announce the intention of changing the name of Ahmedabad to Karnavati just before Diwali, on November 7, 2018, many people’s mood changed from festivity to heated debate and furor across the state. For many of us, an online petition, initiated by Bandish Soparkar, on change.org protesting name change came to immediate rescue.

Vedanta is out but corporate loot continues in Odisha: Local activists tell NAPM yatra

By Our Representative
Lok Shakti Abhiyan leader Prafulla Samantara, winner of the Goldman Environmental (also known as Green Nobel) Prize in 2017, has regretted that though Sundergarh in Odisha, like other forest areas, is a fifth schedule area, where Forest Rights Act (FRA) and Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act (PESA) is applicable, but these laws are being “outrightly violated to facilitate corporate loot.”