Online procedures will erase nexus in water distribution system: Additional Municipal Commissioner Sanjay Mukherjee

Mumbai: Though Mumbai Municipal Corporation having a huge budget which could be just five times more than any other municipal corporations in Asia, the citizens of Mumbai still cry for unequal water distribution and many other issues. Hence from getting a water connection to the much hyped controversy of nexus between licenced plumbers and BMC officials, to the ambitious Mumbai Sewerage Treatment Plan-2 (MSTP-2) project lagging from past ten, the city wants to know the answer for every questions they raise. Free Journal’s Sweety Adimulam had a dialogue with Additional Municipal Commissioner Sanjay Mukherjee who heads  the Hydraulic Department of Mumbai.

Is getting a water connection a complex procedure?

Not at all, the entire system is simple – ‘apply online.’ As per Right To Service, anybody can avail water. Therefore, one who makes an application online they will get the water connection within 15 days.

Well, but citizens and corporators allege there is a huge nexus, one has to pay more than the actual money.

Speaking truly, the problem lies in licenced plumbers. Online procedure has been set up only to avoid these corrupt practises, also so much of awareness has been created about online water connection. In addition, the department has not received a single complaint till date from anybody. If they (licenced plumbers) are at fault, action will be taken, but it has to be brought to the notice of corporation. Just making allegations will not help… also licenced plumbers cannot be removed as they are also an essential part of the civil work.

Citizens usually complaint about unequal water distribution, lack of drink water at many places?

Mumbai does not face water shortage problem. The civic corporation is giving water as per the Urban Development Plan and Formulation Implementation (UDPFI) norms. As per the norms, 135 litres per capita water has to be supplied while BMC supplies 165 litres per capita water. In slums the norm says 40 litres per capita water has to be given and BMC gives 50 litres per capita.

Also what measures BMC taking to initiate equal distribution of water in affected areas?

In slums water stand post has been set up. Community Based Organisation (CBO) can apply for stand-post which will give water to five families. After BMC gives stand-post, the community has to look after it. In slums which are situated on hills, BMC has built water storage tanks and has given suction pumps. Also, a committee of experts has been formed after the orders of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. The committee involves experts. One of the empanel members is the chief of Central Water Research Institute. They suggest various measures to BMC which is being implemented.

Please tell us about Mumbai Sewerage Treatment Plant-2 (MSTP-2) project.

Mumbai city at present have seven operating Sewerage Treatment Plants (STPs) at Colaba, Worli, Bandra, Versova, Bhandup, Ghatkopar and Malad. From all this seven STPs the sewerage treated water is fit for disposal into the sea except the Malad STP. The Colaba STP work has already started and will complete by February 2019 and for other remaining STPs, excluding Malad, the tender has been invited in December. While the Malad STP is awaiting a clearance from forest department, nod from Bombay High Court, Coastal Regulation Zone department has already been received. Malad STP up-gradation will require additional 78 acres which fall within the CRZ-1 to augment the facility.

So much flak is been receiving for the Goregoan-Mulund link road project, which involves tunnelling under the Sanjay Gandhi National Park? You looking after the project…

The project won’t disturb the biodiversity firstly and we are trying to remove this misconception of  the activist and people who are opposing this project. At present, BMC is conducting the environment impact assessment study. The project involves construction of Nahur Road Over Bridge (ROB) and building twin tunnels under the Sanjay Gandhi National Park to connect the Goregaon Film City and Mulund near Amar Nagar. while the work of Nahur ROB has already been started. The Goregoan-Mulund link road project will help to decongest the city traffic.

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