There is a gasoline station near my house. Very near to the gasoline station, there was a water leakage a month ago. A pipe underneath the asphalted road had broken and the water was gushing out onto the pavement in great gusto. It was like a mini-stream. The water traversed through the length of the gasoline station and – due to the dip in the road – went all the way to the residential area and stagnated in front of many houses, before getting into drainage.
I am usually very prompt in reporting such issues to the concerned officials – be it in my locality or in my house or in my office. On couple of occasions I have even approached strangers’ houses to inform them of water leakages and overflowing overhead tanks. Somehow I just cannot stand water being wasted. My blood starts boiling if I see water getting wasted.
But this time I wanted to take a back seat and see how the situation unfolded. So on day one when I saw this, I kept quiet. I thought perhaps the BWSSB was aware of it and was working on it. Surely water wastage is of prime importance now, is it not? There are campaigns everywhere of conserving water, of harvesting rain water and of our nearness to the day when there will be no potable water.
On day two, I noticed that water was still gushing out in the same gusto. I went to the folks at the gasoline station and asked them if they had informed the BWSSB officials about it. The folks responded very derogatorily about the BWSSB officials. “This is a common occurrence. In the past, we have complained several times but no one took notice.” Half-resembles the “Wolf! Wolf!” story. Now who is to be blamed? The BWSSB or the gasoline officials? Due to pervious negligence displayed by the former, the latter is discouraged. Discouragement apart, who will suffer if one day there is no water to drink? Both the BWSSB officials and the gasoline officials. I thought I will give it one more day.
On day three, when I came home from office at 10 pm, the water was still leaking. I couldn’t believe that nobody was taking action about it. Hundreds of educated people were walking on this road daily which had now become a stream of sorts and no one bothered to complain. Forget complaining, they were not even bothered to see water getting wasted. The gasoline station folks were not bothered although the stream was right in front of them and causing them and their clients a distress. The people who stayed in the houses in front of whom the water was now stagnating were not doing anything about it. It was good drinking water that could have served hundreds of people for days together that was getting into drainage and no one was bothered about it.
Enough was enough. I went online and googled “BWSSB complaint”. The first link gave the number 22238888 and said it was monitored round the clock. I couldn’t believe Indian government officials working round the clock. Nevertheless, I called at 11 pm. It was answered in the second ring and the voice was not sleepy. He took my complaint, asked the location and land mark and thanked me for the input.
The next day, the water leakage had stopped.
I was dumbfounded. All one had to do was call the BWSSB hotline number. All one had to do get the BWSSB hotline number was to go to google. I couldn’t believe that at an era when communication is at its peak and information is available in fingertips, people are not using it for their betterment.
People are ignorant of the fact that if we don’t help the Government in making this world a better place to live, the Government cannot make this world a better place to live. It is perhaps the Government’s negative track record which stops the common man to approach the Government to fix an issue which only the Government can fix. But having said so, it should not stop the common man from raising the issue to the Government, especially when it is the common man who will be the victim in the long run. When the Government has made strides to open up channels of communication, of various ways of receiving feedback and addressing grievances, it is the duty of the general public to utilize such forums and create a positive impact to the environment.
Conserving water is synonymous to conserving electric energy. The more we save now, the more we can enjoy later and the more our kids can enjoy later. Like switching off our computer before leaving office for the day. Like switching off the fan and electric light of our cubicle before leaving office for the day. Like switching the lights off of vacant water closets even though not switched on by us. Like calling 22238888 to stop water leakages. Like calling 7760991399 to report BMTC buses that are polluting the city. Surely switching off, making a phone call are ‘little’ acts? But these have ‘high’ impact on the world in which we live in.
It only takes a little to save a lot.