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Lack of accountability has led to mismanagement of water in Bangalore
25 May 2010

Loksatta party is concerned about the acute shortage of water in the city. Bangalore, which requires about 1200 million litres of water a day (MLD) is currently being provided only 75% of it. While this is causing great discomfort to many residents, it is the poor who are bearing the maximum brunt of this shortage.

Talking to the media, Loksatta spokesman Mr. Muralidhar Rao has described it as a case of severe 'mismanagement' of water supply. Present measures such as mandatory rain water harvesting, digging of borewells and hiring of tankers may help temporarily alleviate the symptoms. But these will not cure the disease which is going to lift its head up again very soon.

Mr. Rao identified that the malaise lies with the way water distribution is managed in the city. Currently it is 'owned' by BWSSB, a para-statal body which is not directly accountable to the people through the elected corporators. This is a clear violation of the 12th Schedule of the Indian Constitution which provides that water supply in a city should be managed by the city municipal corporation itself.

Only when corporators, accountable to the people, are made responsible for providing water, can one guarantee regular water supply to all. Mr. Rao further expressed that such a provision was made in the Bangalore Metropolitan Governance Bill. However, this Bill has not been introduced in the legislature yet, fearing that it would empower the local bodies, something the State government is not keen on - since empowering the local bodies is bound to give the public more power.

Explaining the meaning of this, Mr. Muralidhar compared this to the shortage of fertilizers that farmers faced two years back. People pressure on elected representatives has ensured that there has been no shortage for the last two years. This has not been the case with water supply in Bangalore since people feel it is useless to approach their corporators.

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