Corporators of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Tuesday accused the civic administration of causing water shortage in the election season in a bid to adversely impact their parties’ chances at the polls.
Since March 20, many parts of the city have been facing a shortage of water supply, as a 10 per cent water-cut policy was in force till March 30. This was to allow the Corporation to carry out lake tapping at the Modak Sagar dam, and for work on the intake well tunnel at the dam site. Thereafter, while supply has been largely restored to the city, the pressure of water-flow is still low and erratic.
This led corporators to raise the issue once again at the standing committee meeting on Tuesday, after it was raised last week.
“Many societies have made appeals to me regarding short supply. Regular supply timings are not being followed, causing problems to residents. Even after repeated correspondence with the officials, there has neither been any response, nor is any action taken on the complaints,” said corporator Anuradha Pednekar (Shiv Sena) from the L-ward comprising Kurla.
Samajwadi Party corporator Rais Shaikh, who recently pulled out of the Lok Sabha elections, alleged that the water-cut is a political move as the timing is suspect. “When I announced my candidature for the Lok Sabha elections last month, the very next day we started facing problems in water supply to my constituency. We held three morchas to protest this at the ward office, but the administration could not do much as there was a higher hand at play.”
Refuting allegations of foul play, the civic water supply department said water levels at the Modak Sagar dam dropped while carrying out tunnel work at the Modak Sagar dam. “The drop in the water level adversely impacted the water-pressure in supply, causing the present problems,” said chief hyrdraulics engineer, Ramesh Bambale.
He added that to rectify the problem, the BMC had sent a request to the state irrigation department to release an additional quantity of 40 to 60 million litres of water from the Upper Vaitarna Dam to the Modak Sagar, over and above the 2,000 million litres of water released daily to generate power.
“We have requested that the state release this additional amount so that we can raise the lake levels and solve the water problem in Mumbai. We have already seen a rise in levels from 147 meters to 153 meters in Modak Sagar lake, so water supply should be back to normal in a few days across the city,” Bambale said.