The Bollywood movie ‘Bhavesh Joshi-Superhero’ starring Harshvardhan Kapoor and directed by Vikramaditya Motwane, essentially deals with a ‘vigilante’s’ crusade against the ‘Water Mafia‘ in Mumbai. Now, it is common knowledge that in the last couple of years, a few cities within India has witnessed a  gradual rise of a ‘mafia’ within the water supply industry. So, the question to be asked is, how has this  cancerous development affected Indian society? Here, is then presenting to you a few ugly facts about the Indian ‘Water Mafia‘, as a response to the question asked above.

Water Mafia in India

People in India collecting water from ‘tankers’ supplying illegal water (Source: Hindustan Times)

1. What exactly is the Indian Water Mafia?

The Indian Water Mafia

The Indian Water Mafia has wreaked havoc in many cities in the country. (Source: HuffPost)

‘Corruption’ is the menace that has gradually led to the rise of what is known as the ‘Water Mafia’ within the Indian society in the last few years. So, in other words this form of ‘organized criminal syndicate’ has risen only due to the rotten democratic system, that exists in the country as of today. Although, this type of mafia has affected only a few cities (as of now), however there are signs that it might rapidly spread to all parts. Furthermore, this criminal organization (called the Water Mafia) essentially operates by ‘stealing’ water supply owned by the government, and sells it a higher ‘premium’ in the market.

2. Which Cities In India Are Affected By The Indian Water Mafia?

‘New Delhi, Bangalore, and Pune’ are cities in India that have thus far been affected by the Water Mafia. In fact, according to an investigative report carried out by ‘Hindustan Times in 2018, the water theft industry (mafia) in Pune generates about Rs 100 crore annually.

3. How Does the Indian ‘Water Mafia’ Function?

A ‘Nexus’ between local municipal bodies and politicians is what has given rise to the ‘Water Mafia’ in the country. Furthermore, India like most developing countries are faced with the problem of distribution of water, especially  since the country has a large section that is extremely poor. It is this inequality found in the water supply network within various parts of the country, which is exploited to the hilt by the mafia. With regards to modus operandi, this mafia functions by stealing water from bore wells or pipelines owned by the state, and selling it to third parties (such as mall owners) at a higher premium. In addition, they also illegally sell water using tankers to people living in slums, and to a number of newly developed housing societies. The unfortunate part of this whole scam is, that the entire operation functions extremely smoothly without it being curbed either by law enforcement agencies or government officials including politicians.

4. Who are the masterminds of the Indian Water Mafia?

It is obvious, that the Water Mafia in India has risen simply due to certain influencing factors, and not just out of the blue. These factors include: key players such as the local civic body (i.e. municipal corporation), local politicians, law enforcement agencies, and most importantly the private entity (i.e. the actual mafia). It is therefore due to ‘selfishness’ exhibited by all these players which has led to this creation of this powerful water cartel.

5.What is the economics of the Indian Water Mafia, and how does it effect society?

‘Call it the mafia, call it business, I call it lifeline’ confessed Raj Tilak Sanghwan, one of New Delhi’s water mafia leader to the ‘Foreign Affair’ magazine. This man heads an organization known as ‘ Sanghwan Janta Sevak’, which provides stolen water to people living in the Sangam Vihar locality in Delhi. Apparently, a gallon of water provided by this mafia organization costs about 0.75 rupees. In terms of business, it makes approximately 2700 $ in a month for providing a total supply of 8400 gallons of water. The unfortunate part of this sham is, that the poor who cannot afford to buy water (actually a basic necessity) at such exorbitant rates tend to suffer the most. In fact, so rampant is this business of supplying illegal water in Delhi,  that a 2013 government audit reportedly stated that about 60% of water supply is lost due to leakages arising mainly due to thefts carried out by the mafia. And so, it is obvious that this shameless stealing of water does effect society (especially the poor) since it is such a commodity which is required to be  used on a daily basis in daily chores such as cooking,bathing, drinking etc. Therefore, it is the gradual rise of this mafia in many parts of the country which threatens to destroy the economical, and social fabric of the society.

Unfortunately, the water cartel in the last few years has slowly begun to spread within the country just like cancer cells. And so, it is time that our judiciary system, local bodies, law enforcement agencies, politicians as well as media get together to eradicate the menace caused by the ‘Indian water mafia’, and thereby preventing it from becoming an issue that is extremely cancerous.

Image Credits: Hindustan Times and Huffingtonpost
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The Bollywood movie 'Bhavesh Joshi-Superhero' starring Harshvardhan Kapoor and directed by Vikramaditya Motwane, essentially deals with a 'vigilante's' crusade against the 'Water Mafia' in Mumbai. Now, it is common knowledge that in the last couple of years, a few cities within India has witnessed a  gradual rise of a...