Rs 5 to quench your thirst

In the baking hotlands of Bellary, residents pay for that most basic necessity — water. In Mincheri, a small village in the district, each pot of water — about 10 litres — costs a whopping Rs 5.

Deprived of clean, potable tap water, they are forced to buy water from private tankers. The village is supplied with water from a borewell, but the saline content is so high, it is unfit for human consumption. Making a killing, tankers now charge the villagers for each pot of water. Ramesh, autorickshaw driver, said, “We don’t have an option but to buy water from these private tankers. My family needs about 10 pots of water every day, Rs 50 for drinking water alone. The tankers know how to do business — they come once every 3 days to our village.”

C. Hanumantha Reddy, a farmer, said, “We are heavily dependent on private tankers. I also buy bottled drinking water for my grandchildren, who have come from Sindhanoor in Raichur.” Mr Gayapa Sab, also a farmer, says that the saline water is used both for domestic chores and drinking, adding, “If officials could store water in the village storage tank and supply it to the villagers, our problems would be solved.” Villagers have complained. But, no-one’s listening.

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