Thursday, May 20, 2010

Indian Blasphemy: Top poltical parties wrestle as citizens BUY water

The Congress and BJP have been having a public duel over who is responsible for Karnataka's acute water shortage situation. While the center says that the state government is not utilizing its options and resources to maximum, the state's BJP government is accusing the center of not delivering on its promise of allocating extra MWs for the state. This is SO typical of political parties in India when faced with such situations. And while the people in charge of solving the problem are busy in throwing the responsibility into each other's courts, it is the common man who bearing the brunt of inaction.

The people of Karnataka, even its most developed city - Bangalore, are having to BUY water at exorbitant rates to fulfill their basic daily requirement. In the city, we recently went for 5 days without water supply. Lucky for us, our homes have underground water storage tanks and we ran out of water on the 3rd day. There is a slum area near our apartment and the people living there do not have this privilege. They depend on a daily supply of water to meet the household requirement. On the second day, we had people showing up at our door step with pots, asking permission to take some water. We allowed three such people to take water from our storage tanks. When on the third day we ourselves ran out of water, we were forced to contact companies who sell water. In normal times, a small tanker of water costs about Rs. 300/- and is enough to fill one storage tank. But during such times of need, the companies go into profit mode and charge 3 - 5 times the normal rate. We paid Rs. 900/- for water that could only be delivered the next day.

Thankfully, the common man of India is much more considerate than the people who govern them. The people who had taken water from us helped us fill a quarter of our tank from a well (Yes, there ARE wells in the city too) that was nearly a kilometer away. This is what we faced in the city which our government claims is good enough to be considered a metropolitan. One can't imagine the water problems in the suburbs and smaller towns.

The ministers say that the water shortage will be taken care of when the expected rains show up i another 15 days time. But the truth is, it has been raining intermittently in Karnataka throughout this summer! Compared to last year, the shortage should have been much less. Yet, not only are we facing water shortage but also excessive power cuts. So is there nothing that a common man can do to get their government to act in this great joke of a democracy of ours? Do we keep paying keep our inverters going and our water storage tanks filled and then pay taxes every year in hope that we won't have to bear the same thing next year around? Or do we let the government know that they are not fooling anyone with their false claims and blame games. The people of India are neither stupid nor blind. The common man needs to send out a clear message that you will not get our vote if you don't solve our basic infrastructure problems NOW (And not just provide non-stop electricity a month before the elections).

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