For over three decades, the community members from Bangaragiri layout, the elevated portion of Amvase lane, Thangamalai, Tank Mohall, Madina Mohalla in Ward No.93, Bangalore, was forced to buy water at a high cost from local water operators since the government bodies failed to supply drinking water to these areas. Almost one third of their salary went into meeting this vital need.
Proposed plan by the BWSSB
In July 2006, Bangalore Water Supply and Sanitation Board (BWSSB) proposed a project with an estimated cost of Rs.1,50,00,000/- (One-and-a- half crore) to construct a ground level tank and a pump house at the vacant land available near the Urdu School; water has to be pumped to the proposed GL tank at the vacant land of Idgah Mohalla. In order to construct the tank and the pump, 1467 Sqm of land was needed and a further 238 Sqm of land.to construct another tank at Idgah premises.
Pipal Tree’s involvement
Pipal Tree, an NGO based in Bangalore, convened a meeting in collaboration with the Peace Committee, Tannery Road, Bangalore to resolve the problem. Pipal Tree staff and the Peace committee members along with local residents raised the issue with the local leaders, jointly signed a public petition, and submitted it to the Bangalore Water Supply and Sanitation Board (BWSSB) authorities. While the BWSSB was cooperative, the practical issues and obstacles for the pending project were considered. This project required approval of the land to build an over-head tank and for pumping the water that belonged to the Urdu school to this area. The Bangalore Mahanagar Palike (BMP) was approached for the land approval. The Education Department and the Military Authorities denied the approval. Pipal Tree, through mediation and advocacy methods and with the help of Right to Information Act, pursued the matter with all the government agencies involved. Eventually, with the help of the local leaders, politicians, BWSSB and other bureaucrats, a solution was arrived at and an alternative route was found to carry the water by laying pipes through the Military area.
Now the people’s misery is about to end, although it might take some more time for their taps to run. Pipal Tree continues the follow-up work.