Nation Current Affairs 05 Jun 2017 Bengaluru: Changing ...

Bengaluru: Changing world of well diggers

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | ROHAN RAMESH
Published Jun 5, 2017, 7:23 am IST
Updated Jun 5, 2017, 7:23 am IST
Besides the private wells, the city was dotted with  public wells too.
The ‘Manuvaddars' have given up their traditional job of well digging and are helping households install rain water harvesting systems (Photo: DC)
 The ‘Manuvaddars' have given up their traditional job of well digging and are helping households install rain water harvesting systems (Photo: DC)

Bengaluru: Bengaluru has not only lost most of its lakes that once were its main source of water supply, but also the many open wells that several households depended on for their water in the past. Besides the private wells, the city was dotted with  public wells too. But as times changed and borewells arrived on the scene along with Cauvery water, the open wells lost their relevance and along them so did the men, who specialised in digging them.

The ‘Manuvaddars’ as they are called, have had to adapt to the modern world. Giving up their traditional job, they are now helping households with their rain water harvesting and are making do with other odd jobs for a living.  

 

Rainwater harvesting expert , Dr. S. Vishwanath, who has been working with these well diggers for some time now, says the rain water harvesting policy has been kind to the Manuvaddars. "Manuvaddars are now involved in digging re-charge wells. They have had to adapt," he reveals. Going by him they live in community camps called Vaddarapalya and are these days doing earth work and helping build public toilets.

One of these skilled workers, Krishna, confirms that he is now digging  water recharge pits and helping people with rain water harvesting. "Rain water harvesting is the future. I don't dig open wells any more. I've had to evolve and learn," he admits. There are many others like him, who migrated from villages to Bengaluru many decades ago to dig open wells.  While living in the city, they also went to Ootacamund and Hyderabad, where open wells were still in vogue at  the time.

While they are no longer being dug, the ones that remain are defunct, according to water experts. Recalls one septuagenarian, Sham Rao,  “We lived off Seppings Road, and the well in our house was our main source of water at the time. Although we also got corporation water, the well was the bulk supplier. In the monsoon, the water used to be just two of three feet below surface and we dipped our buckets in to fill it and haul it up.”

But if Kanthappa , a former Manuvaddar, is to be believed,   the demand for borewells too is now falling. "The demand for new borewells is steadily decreasing. People are going in for more environmentally friendly methods such as rain water harvesting and digging recharge pits," he says.

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Location: India, Karnataka, Bengaluru




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