Stringent BMC rules to obtain a legal connection are proving to be an incentive for people who want to seek illegal connections

Mumbai : It’s a real paradox that in Mumbai getting an unauthorised water connection is much easier than getting an authorised one, thanks to the collusion of BMC officials and local touts.

Consequently, procurement of unauthorised water connections is on the rise in Mumbai. Some BMC corporators are blaming the nexus of BMC officials and local touts for this unholy situation. Other corporators concede that some corporators of the BMC are also hand in glove with the people who seek illegal water connections. At the same time they suggest that stringent BMC rules to obtain a legal connection are proving to be an incentive for people who want to seek illegal connections.

FPJ reported on Monday that the number of illegal water connections in Mumbai is 5,251. In addition to this, about 27% of water supplied to Mumbai is wasted due to leakages.

Rais Shaikh, group leader of Samajwadi Party said that the local ward officials and the touts are responsible for illegal water connections.

“These touts stand just outside the ward office. When approached, they collude with the ward officials to give an illegal water connection.” Said Shaikh “ I have seen this happening many a time but no one has taken any action”.

Girish Dahanukar, MNS nominated corporator, said  “the corporator knows what goes on the ground level. He himself is responsible. When he gives out one illegal water connection, he is securing one vote for himself”.

Sena corporator Deepak Bhutakar, said ”People seek to procure an illegal water connection as the BMC has stringent procedures in place to get a legal water connection. In order to fit the piping for the legal water connection, the licensed plumber has to furnish an affidavit to the BMC which states that, he has not given a water connection to the concerned person before and that he is doing the work for him for the first time’ “

Bhutakar further stressed that a plumber may not know whether the person had been given a water connection before. It is for this specific reason no plumber is willing to furnish an affidavit as result of which no legal connection has been given in the last 11 months.

Ashok Kumar Tawadia, Dy. water engineer said “We have eased the former rules. Now the plumber has to just state that he is doing the plumbing for the connection for the first time. This is just to ensure that one person gets one connection only.”

Sachin Unhalekar

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