It can be considered the lowest point of governance when people are made to pay for a resource which is not only meant to be free but is also their basic right. Despite being the capital of India, Delhi's sad reality is that over 20 percent of its population does not have access to clean water.

Source: Source: BBC

Free but unavailable

The government gives water to the people of Delhi for free, but how can that be of any help if water isn't available in the first place? The scarcity of water creates a huge divide between supply and demand, which needs to be filled.

Source: Source: BBC

Enter, Delhi's notorious water mafia. While black marketing of many commodities is known in our country, something as basic as water is also being sold on the black market.

Neglected and desperate

The water is supplied in tankers to the poor neighbourhoods having no access to water. The mafia fetches water from India's depleting ground water resources via bore-wells dug deep into the ground.

They operate at night in deserted streets, and fill up rows of tankers. Records are kept in log books as the organised racket mostly functions unnoticed.

Source: Source: The New Indian Express

Around 200 litres of water bought from the mafia costs more than Rs 500. Many in the affected areas are too poor to manage even that. But, they have to put up with it in absence of an option as the mafia remains the most reliable source of water.

Too powerful to be stopped?

This network is not something new, it has been around for a long time. But they can't be stopped as they are connected to local politicians as well as police officials. Though only few pockets of Delhi are affected, but the population in these areas is in millions.

Source: The Irrawaddy

Perhaps, only those deprived of water truly know the value of this precious resource.