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Supplying drinking water to rapidly growing Bengaluru a 'big problem', says Dy CM Shivakumar

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Bengaluru, Feb 13 (PTI) Supplying drinking water to a rapidly growing city like Bengaluru is a "big problem” and a “major solution” is needed to address it, Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar told the Legislative Assembly on Tuesday.

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He said almost 20 percent of Bengaluru’s water needs are met through tankers The Deputy Chief Minister, who is also in-charge for Bengaluru City Development, was responding to Jayanagar BJP MLA C K Ramamurthy's question about Cauvery water not being supplied to slum dwellers in his constituency, during the Question Hour.

"Bengaluru is growing rapidly. Every year, the city’s population is rising by 10 lakh. Water is a big problem, but for the sake of Bengaluru's respect and pride, we want to prioritise drinking water. We will set it right,” Shivakumar said.

Noting that the government has not raised water tariffs in the city since 2013, he said, "While all other rates like power tariff have been raised and expenditure has gone up, the water tariff hasn’t gone up, it has been eleven years, due to politics and various other reasons. There is a big problem." Shivakumar, also the Water Resources Minister, said he has issued an order allocating an additional six tmc ft of Cauvery water to Bengaluru for drinking purposes.

Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) is providing 10,000 litres of Cauvery water to slums free of cost every month from 2017, he added. "There are 32,510 families in SC/ST colonies. In the Jayanagar constituency, 5,515 houses are getting free Cauvery water every month." Water connection will be provided after the Karnataka Slum Development Board pays pro rata and other charges to the BWSSB, the Minister said.

Responding to a question by Deputy Leader of the Opposition Arvind Bellad on "tanker lobby" in Bengaluru, he said, "Tankers don’t get Cauvery water, it’s bore well water they sell... almost 20 per cent of Bengaluru’s water needs are met through tankers, whether it is for factory or other things. We need a major solution. That’s the reason we are fighting for the Mekedatu project. I need your support.” PTI KSU RS KSU ROH

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