Barely days after the private water tanker lorries announced a strike – and then temporarily withdrew the strike – in Chennai city, the residents of Old Mahabalipuram Road (OMR) have written to the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, seeking his intervention to address the water crisis situation in OMR area.
The letter, written on behalf of over 100 Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) spread along the IT expressway in Chennai, lists the causes of worry for over 4,00,000 families residing in various apartment complexes and colonies on the OMR. Calling themselves ‘The Federation of OMR Residents Associations’ (FOMRRA), the group has listed the issues faced by them, especially during the summer, and has sought the Chief Minister’s intervention to address the issues.
Specifying that the apartment complexes and enclaves on the OMR lack metrowater and sewage pipelines that are usually provided and maintained by the local body, the letter stated that the people living on OMR are completely dependent on private water tanker lorries for their daily supply of potable water. The residents alleged that these lorries are further harassed by the authorities in the area leading to the obstruction of delivery of water to their apartment complexes.
“The tankers that supply water are not allowed to ply on our roads and are being hindered and harassed by some authority or the other – like Police, Tahsildars, Collectors etc. This is causing a lot of inconvenience to all the residents in our apartment complex as well as the whole of OMR,” read the letter.
The letter further accused Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB) and Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation Limited (TANGEDCO) of charging commercial rates on the water and sewage treatment plants installed within the apartment complexes to provide the residents with potable water and to treat the sewage generated by the units in the complexes respectively without any kind of commercial usage.
“However the TNEB / TANGEDCO wants the residents to pay commercial electricity charges even though this plant is used only for treating water for use by the residents of the complex and there is no commercial application,” the letter stated. Commercial tariff is almost three times the domestic tariff charged by TANGEDCO for electricity usage by consumers.
Under these circumstances, the residents have urged the Chief Minister to ensure that there is no hindrance for the private tanker lorries to supply water in their localities and instruct TNEB and TANGEDCO to allow the water and sewage treatment plants to operate at domestic tariff rates instead of the erstwhile commercial rates.