Pumping wells in the dark of night, criminal bosses rule the liquid economy in one of the world’s busiest cities. Can anyone stop them?
By Aman Sethi–
Down by the sandy banks of the Yamuna River, the men must work quickly. At a little past 12 a.m. one humid night in May, they pull back the black plastic tarp covering three boreholes sunk deep in the ground along the waterway that traces Delhi’s eastern edge. From a shack a few feet away, they then drag thick hoses toward a queue of 20-odd tanker trucks idling quietly with their headlights turned off. The men work in a team: While one man fits a hose’s mouth over a borehole, another clambers atop a truck at the front of the line and shoves the tube’s opposite end into the empty steel cistern attached to the vehicle’s creaky frame.