Breakdowns hit DJB water tanker service

Water crisis in the National Capital is nothing new. But what many Delhiites are not aware is that the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) is unable to make optimal use of its fleet of tankers due to breakdowns and other issues.

When a Mail Today team visited the DJB's offices in South Delhi, a number of broken down tanker trucks were found parked inside the premises of these offices.

In its website, the Jal Board says it supplies potable water in water deficit areas through around 800 department and hired water tankers from 25 emergency centers in different zones in Delhi.

Even after complaints, residents allege the DJB has failed to provide them with water tankers when needed

Even after complaints, residents allege the DJB has failed to provide them with water tankers when needed

Besides delivering water at fixed and predetermined points in localities that have no piped water connection, the tanker service is pressed into service whenever there is a major breakdown or extra demand in summer.

The Jal Board maintains three types of tankers - departmental, hired and GPS enabled stainless steel tankers.

"The DJB is unable to maintain their existing fleet and we see many of these tankers lying idle due to non-maintenance. Despite asking for emergency water tankers, we get water after 8 to 10 hours or sometimes after a day," said Karan Aggarwal, a resident of East of Kailash.

Aggarwal knows a bit about this as he has made several rounds of the DJB offices to get the tanker service in Greater Kailash, East of Kailash and adjoining areas at Greater Kailash centre.

But his efforts have not given the desired result.

"We want to know the reason behind the delay in water supply and why does the public have to suffer due to poor management. Why new tankers are not brought and why are old tankers still being used…" he said.

Other residents from the area complained that emergency helplines remain mostly engaged or their calls are attended only after many attempts. And when these calls are attended, flimsy excuses are made to the callers.

"Few weeks ago when we complained on the emergency number and asked for the water tankers to be sent. The excuse that we got was that they (DJB men) did not have money to pay for diesel of the tankers, so they are unable to transport water," Aggarwal said, adding that tankers are seen standing idle every time the people go to the nearby DJB office.

But a senior DJB official said there are about 40 to 50 trips the tankers take round on rotation in the area as per the demand and the water is supplied on 'first come, first served basis' as per the calls lodged by the people.

"If there are complaints, we will look into the matter," the DJB official said.

"In the morning, most of the water is first sent to the VIP homes and then sold off to shopkeepers in the area. What is left then comes to us," said Jitendra Juneja, a resident from Kailash Colony.

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