Defunct water ATMs fail to quench thirst
The coin-operated Water ATMs set up across city to provide RO purified for the denizens; many of them have gone dry due to non-maintenance. The people, especially the street vendors had got habituated to get a litre of chilled purified water at Rs 5.
• GHMC and HMWSSB along with private entities launched 140 coin-operated water ATMs across the city
• Water is being provided at a very low price
Hyderabad: The coin-operated Water ATMs set up across city to provide RO purified for the denizens; many of them have gone dry due to non-maintenance. The people, especially the street vendors had got habituated to get a litre of chilled purified water at Rs 5. All they have to do is carry their own bottle and insert a 5-Rupee coin in the slot and the machine starts dispensing a litre of water. However, exactly at a time of mercury levels soaring, the street vendors and people have been left parched and are forced to buy water at Rs 20 a bottle or a water pouch at Rs 2 for 250 ml.
With an aim to provide pure drinking water 24/7 through coin operation mechanism, the Greater Hyderabad Municipality Corporation (GHMC) and Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (HMWS&SB) in collaboration with Josab India Private Limited and Nature Spring Eco Tap installed over 140 water ATMs across the city in 2017. These water ATMs have been providing clean drinking water to people at a very low price.
However, most of these pure water vending machines have become dysfunctional due to non-maintenance causing inconvenience to people dependent on water ATMs. The water ATMs at NTR Marg, BS Marg, Musheerabad and Osmania University – the coin slots have been damaged, outlet pipes broken and at some places the steel tumblers have been stolen.
The water outlet where people collect water are in pathetic condition and steel glass which is kept for public to drink water is seen in a disgusting manner. People are confused whether the water ATM is working or not because there is no proper maintenance.
The water ATM installed at Manikeswar Nagar (Vaddera Basti) near Osmania University has not been working for six months. Apoorva, a resident of Manikeswar Nagar, said, "The machine installed at bus stop has not been functioning hence we are also forced to buy water cans from private firms at a very high price".
Santhosh, who is preparing for competitive exams, said, "I have been staying in Manikeswar Nagar (basthi) for two years and used to drink GHMC tap water. After installation of Water ATM, we were happy to have safe drinking water, but what is the use as the machine has been non-functional for the last six months. We continue to depend on GHMC tap water."
Ramulu, 50-year-old street vender at NTR Garden, said that the water kiosk installed at NTR Marg has not been working for weeks. He said after fixing the problem it would work for two to three days and again become dysfunctional. There are some people, especially the children, who does mischief by inserting ice cream sticks and chocolate covers, because of which the machines get stuck and need immediate repairs.
The maintenance of all water ATMs has been given to Nature Spring Eco Tap on Built Own and Operate (BOO) model and the machine dispenses water. When approached A Deepak, maintenance in-charge, Natures Spring Eco Tap, said, "There are some technical issues regarding technology which we used in the project. Once in two days we are visiting ATMs and fixing the problems. Some water vending machines are being damaged due to mischievousness of people.
We are finding ice cream sticks, chocolate covers and some dust in the coin slots while fixing the problem. Due to lack of awareness, people are not using the ATMs in a proper way. We have organised several awareness programmes, yet the people have been doing same thing."