Vasai: Vasai-Virar city is the preferred destination for affordable housing, with a growing population of more than 1.3 million spread over 383 sq km, which is also the fifth largest city in Maharashtra. The river banks here have attracted many developers to the region who have promoted many projects. As a matter of fact, this sub-region has witnessed a steady growth of the real estate business over the last six decades.
The Vasai-Virar City Municipal Corporation has been entrusted with the development work of infrastructure. Some time back, the union government had adopted Vasai-Virar under the Urban Infrastructure Development Scheme for Satellite Towns making it the only city from Maharashtra to be taken under this scheme. However, this project is yet to see the light of the day.
However, this city is yet to tackle its water problems. It seems residents here have been cursed to face water problems. They have to not only tackle water shortage problems, but also the tanker lobby. Many areas are completely dependent on tankers. Some housing societies have resorted to using high pressure pumps to extract maximum water from below the surface.
According to Mayor Rupesh Jadhav, increasing real estate prices in Mumbai has resulted in a shift of population of low and middle-income households to this region. He also said that with office premises shifting from south Mumbai to the suburbs, more and more people are coming here to stay. This is the real reason for water scarcity wherein the supply has remained constant or reduced but demand has increased. Work on many projects is in full swing and should be completed in next two or three years, he added.
During summer, water is sold at high prices by tanker owners. But what puzzles the residents is the easy access that the tanker lobby have to the water resources. They say that if there is water scarcity then it should be applicable to all. On the one hand, some areas are overflowing while in some other parts water is scarce. Obviously there is a failure in the equitable distribution of available supplies. They also complain that the local authorities have failed to keep a check on tanker lobby because of its proximity to the ruling party. Then there are housewives who are forced to walk a long distance to fetch water.
This situation sometimes is very grim when even small children are forced to walk for kilometres in the scorching heat to fetch water. People are only waiting for things to improve in this region and are hoping that the political leadership will solve this vexing problem once and for all.