With an eye on the 2017 Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation election the Shiv Sena has come forward with a proposal to provide water connection to slums constructed after 2000. The standing committee of the BMC had rejected this proposal one and half year back but now legislators and corporates have revived their demand for luring slum voters. The water rights committee had filed a petition with the Bombay High Court for providing water supply to slums constructed after 1st January 2000. The court had ordered for providing water connection to illegal slums. However, the standing committee had failed to implement it effectively and the decision was deferred.
According to sources from BMC said, “Corporators have demanded regularisation of slums dating back to 2000. They also want water connection, electricity and other amenities to be provided to these residents.”
Currently the people residing in illegal slums have to rely on the BMC for their water supply needs or else they indulge in theft of water. Sometimes they have to pay exorbitant price to tanker operators for purchasing water. Thus if the court order is implemented effectively then it will end malpractices like water theft and eliminate wastage of water. Around 58 lakh people reside in slums in Mumbai as the civic body has failed to prevent the mushrooming of slums in the metropolis. The tanker mafia are stealing water and selling it at higher rates to slum dwellers. To prevent this malpractice, the civic body had planned to provide water supply to illegal slum dwellers at four rupees and 32 paise. Since the water tax is increasing by 8 per cent every year hence one thousand litres of water will cost Rs 466.
On the other hand, Mumbaikars are not pleased with the legislators proposal of providing water connection to illegal slums.
Sameer Wadekar a Borivali resident said, “The city is currently facing a 15 per cent water deficit, which has forced the civic body to continue with the water cuts. However after providing water to slums there is a possibility of water theft and rise in illegal water connections in the city. Already there is too much wastage of water in slums. Therefore Mumbai may have to grapple with water shortage.”
Adarsh Singh a Kandivali resident said, “Why do politicians think about regularising slums and providing water to these areas before the onset of election? Instead the BMC must take steps to augment the water stock for the city which will address the water scarcity issue.”