Mumbai: BMC turns a blind eye to 1,500 requests for water connections

Mumbai: Over 1,500 households across the City are awaiting water connections from past the five months, but the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) refuses to take note of their water woes. With political parties making tall claims of providing free water supply to households prior to elections, Pani Haq Samiti, a Non-Governmental Organisation, claims that not a single political party has acted upon requests for water connections.

Sitaram Shelar, member of the PHS, said the BMC delays in providing water connections despite Bombay High Court’s order to provide water to all the slums. PHS had filed a petition in 2010 over a circular issued by the state government which stated that water supply should not be provided to unauthorised slums. The Bombay High Court in 2014 directed the BMC to create a policy to supply water to unauthorised slums that were erected after January 1 2000.

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Shelar said, “Over 1,500 households had applied to the BMC for providing water connections on November 2016, however, the Hydraulics department replied saying that there is no circular that has been created to provide water to illegal slums. There are over 30 lakh people across the city, which are still living on illegal water connections. They are paying a much higher price for water. Where are the politicians that spoke about providing free water in households?”

However, a senior civic official said work on providing water connections to illegal slums is in progress. Shelar pointed out that slums on the Bombay Port Trust (BPT) land have been living in bad conditions since several decades. Residents of Sewri’s Kaula Bunder area, where there are around 2,000 slums that have no legal water connection, are bound to buy water from the water mafias in their area.

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Shanti Ravi, resident of Kaula Bunder, said, “Our area is on the BPT land and the authorities have not provided water in the slums since several years. The water we receive is through illegal connections. We are left with no option other than using illegal connections. The BMC has turned a blind eye to our issues.” Ravi added that it is of no use to approach the civic body as they blame the BPT officials for not issuing permissions to lay down pipelines.

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