Bengaluru: First it was the washing machine, now it is water shortage. City's dhobis have never had it so bad. Take the case of Chandramurthy. The 67-year-old dhobi from Millers Road dhobi ghat says business has been badly hit by the ongoing summer water crisis.
"Never in my life time have I seen so much scarcity of water. Last year and this year have been particularly bad," he says. "We have well but it is not sufficient for us. There are two borewells but one of them has failed."
According to Chandramurthy, more than 80 families work at the ghat. "The water is not sufficient at all. So we wash every alternate day. Hence our business has also been hit," he says,
It is not just Chandramurthy, city's dhobis elsewhere are in the same boat, with a few even buying water from tankers to wash clothes they get from apartments, lodges, restaurants among others.
YS Shankar, Secretary, Rajajinagar Dhobi Ghat, says they buy water from tankers as six borewells had failed so far. "We have a well from which we draw water but water is not sufficient. Hence we buy three water tankers every day," explains Shankar. "Each water tanker costs Rs 700. Around 190 families come here to wash clothes. Machines have been installed to wash clothes but we cannot use them as it releases lot of smoke. There is a hospital and it will create problem for patients."
But dhobi Srinivas is not so lucky. He says earning Rs200 a day had become difficult. "We cannot even pool money for water tankers as they are expensive during summer. Even if we want to, we have to buy two to three tankers which is not possible for us," says Srinivas.
Every dhobi ghat washes more than 10000 clothes every day. The Vasanthnagar Dhobi Ghat has a well but it has sewage flowing in it. "Around thirty families work here. As we do not have our own borewell, we fetch water from community borewell only. Our people cannot pool money for tankers. The government doesn't allocate funds for us. We are helpless," says Anand.