dharwad: Workers’ strike disrupts water supply in twin cities | Hubballi News

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Hubballi: The long line of people forming a straight line for Reverse Osmosis (RO) units through the Twin Cities was an indication of the crisis the Karnataka Water Board (KWB) is facing in Hubballi-Dharwad.
Following the government’s decision to entrust water supply to a private agency, KWB employees went on strike to demand that it be maintained. Consequently, this has resulted in disruption of household water supply across Hubballi-Dharwad.
The private company that now bears the heavy responsibility of providing water to all households has yet to streamline the process, creating some confusion, while the workers’ strike has made matters worse. With the festivities of Eid-ul-Fitr, Ramzan and Akshaya Tritiya just around the corner, locals are understandably upset at the disruption of water supplies, when their need for the same is particularly acute. .
Lingaraj Nagar resident Dr. CG Zalaki complained that the residents of the Twin Cities seemed to have become unwitting victims of the turf war between the Hubballi-Dharwad Municipal Corporation (HDMC) and KWB employees.
“The district administration must ensure a regular supply of water to all households. Residents being denied water supply during festivals is not a good sign. Elected officials must take notice of the issue and resolve the issue at the earliest, otherwise residents may be forced to take to the streets to protest against the authorities concerned,” Dr Zalaki told TOI.
Amrut Ijari, an activist based in Hubballi, accused the government of being irresponsible in its handling of matters that directly affected the welfare of citizens. “The government must have resolved the dispute over employee demands before handing responsibility for water supply to L&T. We have an elected union minister in Dharwad, while the chief minister is also from the district, despite this we are facing water supply problems,” Ijari said, warning the government to start an agitation. if the problem was not resolved quickly.
Sharada Patil, a resident of Unkal, said her son, busy preparing for his exams, had to carry water to the nearby reverse osmosis unit. “There is a long queue at the RO unit as most households have not been supplied with water. We keep hearing about the water supply to all rooms 24 hours on 24, but there is no water at all now,” she said.
Most citizens were forced to hire private tankers, which doubled their rates. Residents of outlying localities either had to draw water from private boreholes or get their supplies from lakes. Akshay settlement resident Praveen Radder had to wait over 30 minutes to bring home 20 liters of water. “I am worried about the situation that will follow,” he said.
DC Nitesh Patil set the Monday noon deadline for KWB employees. At a meeting with employees on Sunday evening, he attempted to resolve the issue, but employees stood firm on their demands.
Meanwhile, employee chief Halakatti said they will hold a meeting of all KWB outsourcing employees on Monday morning and decide on the next course of action.
“We are trying to convince all 588 employees of Karnataka Water Board to return to work. We understand their concerns and the reasons for their protest. But it is disappointing to learn that they are damaging and closing the water valves where L&T and HDMC employees are working to restore the water supply. We assured the protesting workers that none of them would lose their jobs. But the high court rejected their claim for wages to be paid by the HDMC. We offered them the choice to return to HDMC through contractors after two years. Despite all our assurances, they are still on strike. We have been patient for a week, and if they continue their agitation, we will be forced to consider our options, including hiring more employees, the DC said.
“I don’t want to be employed directly by L&T”
“We have lodged a warning with the High Court regarding the problem with our contract. The case is pending before the court, which in its order said that the temporary employees of KWB will work under L&T. Based on this order, we would like Commissioner HDMC to delegate us to L&T by issuing a formal notification. But commissioner HDMC refuses our request. We are now fighting for our rights. We do not want to be directly employed by L&T under any circumstances,” said Basavaraj Mukkal, General Secretary of the Hubballi-Dharwad Water Supply Employees’ Association.
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