Nearly a month after Raj Bhavan officials wrote to it expressing their interest in buying treated water at lower rates rather than wasting it into the sea, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) continues to drag its feet on the issue while allowing wastage of treated water.
In their letter to the civic body, the officials wrote that if the treated water could not be given for free they were ready to buy it for Rs 2 or Rs 3 per thousand litres for non-potable use. “Rather than wasting the treated water into the sea, they should give it to us for free or at lower rates. It will save thousands of litres of water,” said an official.
The Raj Bhavan’s letter was in response to a letter written by the civic body’s hydraulic engineering (HE) department asking whether it was ready to buy the treated water at Rs 14.52 per thousand litres.
Around 1.5 million litres per day (MLD) sewage is being treated at a sewage treatment plant in Banganga since June 2014. At present, treated water, fit for non-potable purposes, is discharged into the sea owing to a lack of distribution network and a dispute between sewerage operations (SO) and HE departments over laying of the distribution network and its cost analysis. In the last two years, around 100 crore litres of treated water has been sent to the sea.
However, the civic body continues to drag its feet on the issue. Officials from the HE department said the SO department had been asked to resolve the matter.
Stating that distribution of treated water comes under the jurisdiction of the HE department, the SO department has given a report saying if treated water is given for free to the Raj Bhavan, the civic body will save a lot of drinking water. However, since the beginning of this controversy, the SO department has maintained that laying the distribution network is not its expertise.
“We have sought details of the operation and maintenance of treated water. We have also asked them to work out the cost for treated water to be made available to public. It is now with them (SO department),” said Ramesh Bamble, Deputy Municipal Commissioner in charge of HE.
Rajiv Kuknoor, Deputy Municipal Commissioner in charge of SO, meanwhile, said he was not aware of the present scenario.
A senior civic official said the HE department seeking cost analysis had shocked them and kept the issue in limbo. “We have taken a stand that it would be better to give treated water for free rather than wasting it into sea. Again, the HE has a problem with it and asks us for the cost analysis. It is ridiculous. Now, the HE should take stand rather than playing football with us. It seems the HE does not want the treated water to be given to people which is like discouraging the people from using the treated water,” said the official, who did not wished to be named.