Even as Pimpri-Chinchwad Mayor Rahul Jadhav performed a ‘jal pujan’ to restore the ‘everyday drinking water supply system” to the entire city, the civic administration expressed fears that some areas will continue to get less water. From May 6, the PCMC had been implementing an ‘alternate day water supply’ for the entire industrial city.
“We performed the ‘jal pujan’ at Pavana dam today. And from tomorrow the old system of ‘everyday water supply’ will be back in the city,” the mayor said.
While residents welcomed the news, they criticised the civic administration for delaying the decision despite an overflowing Pavana river. PCMC executive engineer Pravin Ladkat said the old system — which existed before May 6 — of some areas getting water in the morning and some in evening will be restored from Thursday.
In pouring rain, the Pimpri-Chinchwad mayor along with his wife performed the ‘jal pujan’ at Pavana dam, which is nearly 35 km away from the PCMC headquarters. A team of video journalists, photographers and water department officials accompanied the mayor. Opposition leader Nana Kate and MNS leader Sachin Chikhale also accompanied the mayor.
Despite a demand for restoring the old system in view of an overflowing Pavana river and Pavana dam, the mayor had been insisting for more than a week that the old system would be restored only after he performed the ‘jal pujan’.
The mayor belongs to the BJP, which has come to power for the first time in Pimpri-Chinchwad. The delayed decision in restoring the old system has drawn fire from both the ruling BJP and PCMC administration.
Even as the mayor on Wednesday directed civic officials to restore the old system, municipal commissioner Shravan Hardikar had a word of caution. “We will not be able to cater to the deficit areas… The tailend areas like Wakad, Dapodi, Dighi, some parts of Pimple Saudagar and Pimple Gurav will not get enough water if we start implementing the ‘everyday water supply system’,” he said.
Hardikar said the alternate day water supply system was helping the administration cater to the deficit areas. He said it was ensuring equal distribution of water in the city.
However, Opposition leaders and civic activists said the PCMC seemed clueless on how to handle the situation.
“The Pavana river is overflowing. The Pavana dam is also filled to capacity. The PCMC does not have to touch the dam water till September-end. They are supposed to lift water from Pavana river directly,” said Kate.
Shridhar Chalkha, a resident of Sambhajinagar, said residential societies and chawl residents have been hit hard for the past three months. “Only those living in bungalows were able to store water for two-three days. Those living chawls and highrises across the city were getting five to 10 minutes of water,” he said.
BJP general secretary Sarang Kamtekar said the party was in favour of restoring the old system. “However, we are also supporting the civic administration for putting in place a long-term plan so that the city does not land up in an emergency situation when it comes to water,”