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Delhi's water tanker mafia rules during every rule

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New Delhi, June 10: As Assembly elections in Delhi are approaching, woes of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal seems to have been manifolding.

The national capital is facing severe water crisis. Kejriwal is heading the Delhi Jal Board (DJB), which is responsible for supplying potable water to crores of Delhiites.

Representational Image

The worst part is that Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had promised 20,000 litres of free water for every household in its election manifesto.

Free water and cheap electricity were two of the issues that helped AAP sweep the Assembly elections in 2015.

The DJB is supplying 900 MGD (million gallons a day) of water, against a peak demand of 1,200 MGD.

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To make the matter worse, there are complaints of sewage mixed water from many areas.

The situation in acute hot weather has left residents angered and helpless.

The DJB has pressed in water tankers in many colonies but they are falling short. People fight over fetching a bucket of water from water tankers. Last summer, water brawls left three people dead in Delhi.

Cashing in on the situation, the notorious water tanker mafia has become active. Hapless citizens are forced to purchase water from them.

It's notable that AAP's majority of voters live in these colonies.

Kejriwal's visits to the affected colonies have failed to solve the problem.

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Sensing the political opportunity, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has launched a scathing attack on Kejriwal.

The BJP has demanded the AAP government must come out with a White Paper on its "failure" to deal with the worsening crisis.

Delhi BJP President Manoj Tiwari says water is not being supplied in 849 unauthorised colonies and water pipelines have not been laid in 147 unauthorised colonies therefore lakhs of people living in these colonies are dependent on the water supplied by tankers.

"The Tanker Mafia is in full control and water is supplied according to their sweet will. At some places, water is being sold and at some places water is not being supplied. Kejriwal is visiting various areas of Delhi to show that he is very active but the people are struggling to get drinking water," Tiwari asserts.

However, the water crisis and water tanker mafia in Delhi aren't new and have been there since ages. They were active when the first BJP government was formed in Delhi in December 1993. The problem continued during Congress' 15-year-rule, which started from 2003. And, the situation is almost same in AAP's rule.

According to a source, the water tanker mafia will continue to thrive in Delhi as businessmen with political links run the private water supply operations through tankers.

"When top to bottom government machinery is in cahoots with the water tanker mafia then who will tighten noose around it, " asks the source.

It further adds that when political patronage is there, government officials also overlook the problem, but only after charging a price. So, water tanker mafia is here to stay.

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