Bengaluru Buzz: Water woes worsen | Tanker prices capped … and more

Other news of the week: More action to address water crisis, Yellow Line opening by year-end, and Guidance Value along PRR halved.

Water woes worsen

Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) sources said that the “water input” for the city has fallen by 50%. Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar explained that 6,997 of 16,781 borewells are dry.

The water crisis is due to low monsoons in September last year, which led to a drought in 195 taluks. Later, the number went up to 216 of the 236 taluks, including Mandya and Mysuru districts, the source of Bengaluru’s water. Areas under Mahadevapura zone, including Kadugodi, Byrathi, Hoodi, Whitefield, Varthur, Marathahalli, Bellandur and AECS Layout, are some of the worst affected. Other places facing supply disruptions are Doddabidarakallu, Lingadheeranahalli under the RR Nagara zone, Konanakunte, Vasanthapura under the Bommanahalli zone, Thanisandra, Amruthhalli under the Yelahanka zone and Chikkasandra, Mallasandra under the Dasarahalli zone.

The crisis is also hitting industrial production, as firms struggle to access water to meet their employees’ basic needs. The increased cost of procuring water is driving up production costs.

Source: Indian Express, Deccan Herald

Action to address scarcity

The BWSSB has banned the use of drinking water for cleaning vehicles, gardening, construction activities, road works, cleaning in public spaces and water fountains. Cinema halls and malls across Bengaluru have been asked to ensure that drinking water is used only for drinking purposes.

The acute crisis has prompted the government to examine recycled water and enable apartments to sell treated water. The requirement for the city has crossed 2,600 million litres per day (mld), of which only 1,460 mld is met by Cauvery river water, while about 1,392 mld are from borewells. The demand for water outside BBMP areas is growing. The state will upgrade quality sewage water treatment (STP) plants for apartment complexes.

Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar had said that the state would take control of tankers distributing water from borewells. The aim is to control the scarcity, especially in 110 villages on the BBMP’s outskirts and ensure that there is no water trafficking.

The RTOs under the transport department have impounded 163 private water tankers to aid the BWSSB. This was days after the BWSSB, facing a shortage of vehicles, wrote to the department seeking to impound private water tankers. Tanker lorry owners have been warned that their vehicles would be seized if they do not register.

Meanwhile, residents of 110 villages in the city’s periphery can contact the BBMP on the helpline 1533 to raise complaints, while residents of other wards in the core areas can dial 1916. Residents’ calls have flooded helplines, asking for relief. Some places got about 30 calls, linked mostly with Cauvery water, borewells, tankers and high prices. Nodal officers said that their focus is on supplying drought-hit places and slums.

Source: Deccan Herald, Indian Express

Read more: How water meters saved time and money for this Bengaluru apartment

Prices of water tankers capped

The district administration has capped water tankers’ prices. As all the taluks in the Bengaluru Urban district have been declared drought-hit, the tankers will now fall under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) bracket. A senior BBMP official said that more than 4,000 water tankers operate in the city.

It has fixed the rates for 200 private tankers as follows: The rates up to 5 kms are Rs. 600 for a 6,000-litre tanker; Rs. 700 for an 8,000-litre tanker and Rs. 1,000 for a 12,000-litre tanker. Rates for distances between 5 kms and 10 kms were Rs. 750 for a 6,000-litre tanker; Rs. 850 for an 8,000-litre tanker and Rs. 1,200 for a 12,000-litre water tanker.

However, the order has capped the pricing only for the supply of tankers within a 10-kilometre radius. But Deputy Commissioner K A Dayananda said that the technical committee will reevaluate the rates and include capping for over 10 kms, if need be.

Source: Indian Express, Deccan Herald

Yellow line opening by year-end

The Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) will begin trial runs on the Yellow Line in the next four days, using the prototype driverless train from China. There will be signalling tests on March 7th and March 8th. The opening of the crucial metro corridor – the 19.15-km line – connecting RV Road with Bommasandra via Jayadeva Hospital, Silk Board Junction and Electronics City, has been pushed further back to the end of the year, although the current official deadline mentioned in the budget last month was July 2024.
Namma Metro trainset for Yellow Line. Pic: Wikipedia/Arjun Arvind

Trial runs will be initially carried out between Bommasandra and Silk Board Junction and extended to the entire line by mid-April, said a BMRCL source. He added that the BMRCL needed at least seven trains and statutory approvals from the relevant authorities to begin operations.

Source: Deccan Herald

Read more: Explainer: How is your revised property tax being computed in Bengaluru?

Guidance value along PRR halved

On the one hand, the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) is revising the compensation policy for farmers’ land that has been notified for the Peripheral Ring Road (PRR) project. But in a cruel cut, the state is axing the guidance value along the road by half. This is expected to trigger off a land-buying spree in the outskirts of the city, even as it may usher in a major cut in monetary relief to those who lose their land.

Earlier, the Stamps and Registration department reduced the guidance value of properties along and abutting the 73-km PRR, spread across the eastern, southern and northern parts of the city. It has selectively withdrawn the upward revision of guidance value announced across the state just five months ago. Hence, the 2,560 acres that have been notified to acquire PRR, or the Bengaluru Business Corridor, will reduce in value.

Source: Deccan Herald

[Compiled by Revathi Siva Kumar]

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