The deadline to outfit water tankers in the city with global positioning systems (GPS) flew by on May 15. But only a single tanker has the GPS system installed yet. Annoyed, the civic body has stated firmly that permits of the tanker owners will not be renewed this month if they do not have GPS installed.
The civic body has made it compulsory to install GPS devices to check if tanker owners are violating civic rules and crossing city limits to supply water at higher rates in villages bordering Pune.
There are a total of 156 official tankers with permits in the city. After refilling water from the Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC) centres, the tankers provide water to various societies in the city and are expected to stay and serve within the PMC limits.
However, PMC officials have been receiving a slew of complaints that the tankers are providing water at higher rates to residents outside the PMC’s limits.
“Tankers renew the permit every month. From now on, those who do not have GPS will not get their permits renewed. Through the GPS we can trace the actual location of the tankers. We have appointed special officials who will check the status on their system. For that we have installed a specialised software in our office,” said VG Kulkarni, head of PMC’s water distribution department.
However, even after GPS is installed, isn’t there a possibility that the driver could remove the device to throw PMC authorities off his trail? “We can easily trace tankers which have removed the device. In such a case, we will take immediate action,” Kulkarni said.
One of the tanker owners told MiD DAY, “The proportion of tankers going out of PMC limits is very small. We already have a large demand from the city so there is no need to go out.” He continued, “I don’t understand why the PMC is making this (GPS installation) compulsory, as people staying outside the city limits also need water. The rate charged by the tankers is not that high.”
“The cost of the GPS device is Rs 5,500 per tanker. It is impossible to keep an eye on every tanker,” he added. There are a total of eight water-refilling centres in the city, which are located in different areas like Patwardhan Baug, Wadgaon Sheri, Ramtekdi, Yerawada, Chatuhshringi, Padmavati and Yewalewadi.
Water tankers with a capacity between 10,000 litres and 15,000 litres charge Rs 1,050 for delivery within five km of the filling station, Rs 1,250 for a distance of up to 10 km, and Rs 1,400 for up to 15 km of the filling station.