September 8, 2021 10:46:19 pm
Not being provided regular supply of water was a blatant mockery of fundamental right, the Bombay High Court observed on Wednesday while hearing a plea filed by residents of a village in Bhiwandi which gets water supply only twice a month for two hours.
“We are at pains to record that the above named petitioners (residents of Kambe village) are required to knock the doors of this court after completion of 75 years of Independence, seeking direction against the Respondents to provide regular supply of water to them,” the division bench of Justice S J Kathawalla and Milind N Jadhav said while hearing the petition.
The petitioners had sought supply of water on a regular basis to their village as per a sanctioned quota decided in 2014. They said that while they had made a series of representations in the regard over the years, the issue remains unresolved till date.
The petition also sought removal of over 300 illegal tap connections fixed on the main line, alleging that water was being supplied illegally to political leaders, construction sites, tanker lobbies, warehousing complexes, industries and others situated within the Bhiwandi Nizampur City Municipal Corporation.
The court had on Tuesday directed the officials of STEM Water Distribution and Infra Company Pvt Ltd, which is a joint venture between the Thane zilla parishad and the Bhiwandi Nizampur City Municipal Corporation, to remain present before it for hearing.
Its Managing Director told the court that the responsibility of distributing water after it was supplied to a particular point was that of the gram panchayat, adding that an upgrade in the system was required as the population of the village had increased over the years. The court said that the illegal connections must be removed first. Officials of STEM had said that whenever they attempt to disconnect these lines, “over 150 people gather to protest”.
The court said: “This explanation cannot be accepted. It is the fundamental right of the petitioners to get regular water supply as sanctioned by authorities and if the water supply is provided to them only twice a month for two hours, the same amounts to a blatant mockery of their fundamental right. The matter will be heard again on Thursday.
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