This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Youth Ki Awaaz. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Slum Dwellers Illegally Tap BWSSB Supply

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

By Moulishree Srivastava:

Sushila, a middle aged woman, who lives with her five children, carries her water pots down the hill into the Nayandahalli slum, off the Mysore Road and fills them with the homemade taps. All these taps were not set up by Board of Water Supply, Bangalore (BWSSB) but slum dwellers themselves. It’s the Cauvery water. She and nearly 1000 other families in the slum pay nothing for the water.

On a road parallel to the slums, there is a BBMP office just around the corner. It has four rooms, and in the inner room, which is the biggest one, sits Umesh Belagudo, who handles all the issues regarding Nayandahalli area, but he is not the Councilor of Nayandahalli, his wife, H. S. Rajeshwari, is. “There are some individual connections in the houses in Nayandahalli, but since these are the poor slum dwellers, they don’t pay,” he says.

What he doesn’t say and apparently doesn’t know is that these kinds of connections are illegal and non revenue generating ones, which constitutes a large portion of water that remains unaccounted for. Bangaloreans face a water shortage of 360 million liters per day (MLD). BWSSB cannot account for around 450 MLD of the 1,200 million liters, it supplies to Bangalore every day. BWSSB attributes the unaccounted for water to illegal water connections and leaking pipes. The problem of illegal connections is not new.

Bangalore has 562 slum areas including 300 undeclared slums, which have not been provided water connections from BWSSB. Moreover, the conditions in undeclared slum and declared slums, which are entitled for water connections, are not strikingly different. Some slums recognized by the slum board don’t have water connections and come up with these kinds of taps connected from somewhere down the line, not unlike the undeclared ones.

Nayandahalli, a declared slum, is no exception. The area has two bore wells that the residents use for all sorts of domestic works except for drinking. For drinking water, Sushila and other women use taps that were set up by their late leader Tamakshi. His wife, Kamachi, holds the position now, and is respected among all the slum dwellers. She owns a small grocery shop that earns around Rs 1000 per day and lives with 12 other members of the family.

“We didn’t have drinking water. Nobody came for us. We collected money among ourselves and set up, in total, 16 taps. It cost us Rs 40,000 three years back,” she said. “Now we get Cauvery water once in two days for nearly 6 hours from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the afternoon.” Interestingly, the residential area, which is adjacent to the slum area, gets its water supply at the same time on the same days.

Savithriamma, a retired officer from BHEL has been living in the area for 25 years, with her family, which includes her husband, son, daughter-in-law and a grandson. “We don’t have any problem of water as such. We get bore well water every day from BWSSB for 2 to 3 hours in the morning and 1 to 2 hour in the evening,” she said. “On alternate days we get Cauvery water for 5 to 6 hours from 9 am to 2 pm.” “We pay around Rs 100 every month, but basically it depends upon how much you use,” she added.

But, in Nayandahalli, nobody pays for the water, which is taken from BWSSB and used for drinking. One of the two bore wells in the area was repaired by slum dwellers seven years back when they put in a new motor for the bore well. Now, the bore well pumps the water continuously as it gets electricity all day long, which has also been arranged by the slum dwellers. It does not have any stopper valve to turn off the motor, which results in the wastage of large quantities of water every day.

The other bore well connection, which was set up by Karnataka State Clearance Board (KSCB) one and a half years ago is actually connected to the bore wells that are being used for the construction of Ambedkar slum residential, being constructed by (KSCB) colony just behind the slum area.

But here also, the water overflows nonstop as the connection does not have any stopper. Number of bore wells in Bangalore’s BWSSB region has increased by around 15,000, according to BWSSB data online. A report by the Centre of Ground Water says that the taluks in Bangalore district are over-exploited. If usage remains at the same level, no ground water resources will be left for future development in a few years, the report said.

The slum dwellers use the Cauvery water that they get for six hours once in two days judiciously while wasting away the bore well water which they pump out continuously, using it only for washing clothes and other domestic works.

They act no different than BWSSB, which loses a huge amount of water per day without knowing how, but clings on to the notion of water shortage. “This is the duty and responsibility of the contractor to look after the bore wells,” said Basuraj, Chief Engineer, BWSSB, when informed about the situation. “BWSSB is working to provide water in 362 slum areas and work has been going on for this,” he added, clarifying why Nayandahalli doesn’t have individual water connections.

When the same question was asked to BWSSB public relation officer, A. N. Prahalad, he said, “In Nayandahalli, we are working toward providing internal and external connections in individual houses in Ambedkar slum colony [in Nayandahalli]. It will be completed in three to four months.” “Once the connections are set up they only have to pay minimal charges of Rs.40 to 50,” he added.

While talking about the problem of illegal water connection he said the situation is same all over the Bangalore.

“For water which is unaccounted for, BWSSB has launched a scheme, Unaccounted for water (UFW) program. Within one year we want to reduce the percentage of unaccounted water significantly,” he said. Currently, a total of 37 percent of supplied water go unaccounted for, as per the BWSSB data. “But if it is happening then it’s definitely illegal,” he said referring to the situation in Nayandahalli.

But Sushila faces no water shortage. She happily gets her water from Cauvery as well as bore wells for free. But even this situation is not perfect.

“But it’s still troublesome to go out and fetch so much of water,” she said. Every time the taps are turned on, she hauls five or six pots of water, enough to last for two days. “So we are waiting to get shifted in Ambedkar slum colony.”

You must be to comment.

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

Similar Posts

By Nitya Singh

By Amal Chandra

By Zakia Rahman

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below