Many urge water tankers not to hike water price

By Our Staff Reporter
IMPHAL, Mar 18: With the State reeling under ‘acute’ shortage of water with many rivers running dry, people in Imphal and other areas have urged water tankers not to hike the price of water by taking advantage of the prevailing situation.
All water tankers selling water should not hike the price of water, specially when people are facing the brunt of ‘acute’ shortage of water, said some people whom his reporter spoke to.
They claimed some tankers are exploiting and taking advantage of the current situation. The situation will normalise once rains come.  If rains do not arrive this month, then the situation could become worse.
Meanwhile, amid claims of tankers charging more money, the All Manipur Road Transport Drivers and Motor Workers Union (Drivers’ Union) has said that the price of water was increased a ‘little’ to cover ‘additional transportation charge’ incurred by the tankers.
At the office of the Drivers’ Union at MG Avenue Imphal, its general secretary Maimom Anil Meitei said all water tankers under the union do not charge money beyond the prices fixed by the union and all other tankers supplying water should also not hike the price.
Many places in Manipur are facing an ‘acute’ shortage of water for drinking and household usage due to lack of rain. With no rains in the last few months, many rivers and perennial sources have run dry resulting in the failure of many water supply schemes. In such a situation, to alleviate the suffering of the people, tankers under the Drivers’ Union have been providing drinking water, Anil said.
Under the union, 12,000 litres capacity tankers are providing water to the people at a ‘cheap’ price. The tankers are providing water to hospitals, hotels and private residences, he added.
Anil also informed that the Porompat Water Supply Plant where tankers usually got water has been shut to non-Government and large private tankers.
Similarly, the water supply scheme at Iroishemba has also stopped giving water to tankers.
He said, at present, the tankers are getting water on a token system from the PHED reservoir at Koirengei and a tanker can make only 1 to 2 trips at most.
As the PHED Koirengei reservoir is at a greater distance than Porompat Water Supply Scheme, additional transportation charges are incurred and as such, the price of water has been increased a ‘little’, he said.
While it costs Rs 1,500 per 12,000 litres of water in areas under Imphal Municipal Corporation (IMC) earlier, this has been increased to Rs 2,000 - Rs 2,500.
In Greater Imphal areas, the same quantity of water is being sold at Rs 3,000, he said, stressing that the tankers are not charging more than the prices he mentioned.
He stated that all decisions are taken by joint sittings of the executive members of the Transporters and Drivers Council and the Drivers Union and no tankers under the union can charge more than the prices fixed.
In case, the price is hiked, it will be made known to the public beforehand. The union has not done anything unilaterally without confirming with the Transport Department, he added.
Anil further said that the union has come across news in the media where some groups engaged in supplying water have claimed that the price of water has been hiked due to extortion of money by the Transport Department.
This allegation may be an attempt to malign the image of the Transport Department and the Drivers’ Union, he claimed.