Disgruntled Calcutta Road residents at a town meeting on Thursday night at the Calcutta Recreation Ground. (Image by SHASTRI BOODAN)
SHASTRI BOODAN

Residents of Calcutta Roads 1, 2 and 3 say they are willing to hit the streets with empty buckets if they do not get a regular water supply.

The residents held a town meeting with Member of Parliament Couva South Rudranath Indarsingh MP at the Calcutta Recreation Ground, on Thursday night, demanding that the Water and Sewerage Authority put them on a better water supply schedule.

Residents said the current WASA schedule gives them water once every nine days. The residents said this will not suffice.  Some residents indicated during the meeting that they have to pay as much as $800 for a tank of truck-borne water, even though WASA says truck-borne water is free.

Councillor for the area, Arlene Ramesar-Solomon, said the Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo Regional Corporation CTTRC has three water trucks but only one truck is working because the CTTRC has no money to repair the other two.

Couva South MP Rudranath Indarsingh, right, address disgruntled residents of Calcutta Roads 1, 2 and 3 at a town meeting at the Calcutta Recreation Ground, on Thursday night. (Image by SHASTRI BOODAN)

Couva South MP Rudranath Indarsingh said he has a paper trail since 2016 asking WASA to get better supplies to his constituents.  He said he wrote Public Utilities Minister Marvin Gonzales seeking a meeting to have the schedule revised, to which the Minister responded, indicating his willingness to meet.

MP Indarsingh said he wants the meeting to be opened to his constituents so they can understand why WASA wants to give them water once every nine days.  The disgruntled MP also wants to know if any other constituency controlled by government MPs was given a 9-day schedule. He noted that the schedule came out on February 15th.

“I cannot see how in the middle of a pandemic, children have gone back to school, there is the need to have sanitization of your homes, your clothes. I don’t see how you can survive on a water schedule of a few hours every nine days,” the Couva South MP said.

Disgruntled Calcutta Road residents at a town meeting on Thursday night at the Calcutta Recreation Ground. (Image by SHASTRI BOODAN)

“If the Minister of Public Utilities can guarantee me where you don’t have tanks in your yards that are willing to establish tanks in your yards, free of charge, and there is an effective truck borne supply that you will get it in 24 hours, I am prepared to tell the Minister of Public Utilities and the CEO of WASA that we will comply,” he added.

MP Indarsingh said that despite some residents getting an assurance from WASA that they would get a truck borne supply, nothing materialized.

The Couva South MP said residents have to pay hundreds of dollars to buy water.

“It is state sanctioned extortion,” he argued.  “If they cannot improve your water supply, why must you pay $800 when you are paying water rates in the country?  We must not sit and take this! This is a government that is facilitating the extortion of the citizens of T&T.”

Disgruntled resident of Calcutta Road 2, Tony Kissoonsingh, tells of his ordeal to get a truck borne water supply from WASA at a town meeting at the Calcutta Recreation Ground, on Thursday night. (Image by SHASTRI BOODAN)

Citing another example of what he says is state sanctioned extortion, MP Indarsingh said the government imposed a ban on open air cremations for two-years, forcing people to cough up as much as $40,000 to dispose of their relatives’ remains.  He called on the residents to provide him with information on those truck drivers who are demanding money for water.

He stated: “I am prepared to stamp out that. We must be prepared in a country to tell people when enough is enough!”

MP Indarsingh said the government has gone to the Regulated Industries Commission RIC to get a rate increase and pay for water meters.

Meanwhile, Calcutta resident Tony Kissoonsingh, told Guardian Media he has been having water woes for several years. Kissoonsingh said he waited two weeks to get a truck borne supply after asking someone connected with WASA to intercede on his behalf.