Corporators from various parties slammed the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) administration, led by Commissioner Shravan Hardikar, on Wednesday for its failure to ensure equal distribution of water to the industrial city. At the civic general body meeting, which lasted for over seven hours, corporators also lashed out at the civic water department, calling its officials “inefficient and incapable of ensuring drinking water supply” to the city.
Corporators asked the civic administration why the city was suffering from water shortage when there was adequate water in Pavana river and the Pavana dam was overflowing. Some corporators blamed the alleged “water tanker lobby” for the crisis.
As many as 47 corporators participated in the heated debate in the general body meeting presided over by Mayor Rahul Jadhav. The meeting, which started at 2 pm and ended at 9.30 at night, was then adjourned till September 3. BJP corporator Ambarnath Kamble said his division was supposed to receive 7.5 million litre per day (MLD) water. “But my area is facing the worst water shortage. Where is the water going? If the situation does not improve… I will be forced to throw officials off the water tanks,” he said. Another BJP corporator, Seema Savale, slammed the administration, saying it was “showing high degree of inefficiency” in handling the grim water situation. “Water cuts at a time when the dam (Pavana) is full is beyond comprehension. The administration has failed badly. The civic chief should have put extra efforts to ensure proper distribution across the city,” she said.Threatening that his party would take out a “handa” morcha in the city, Opposition leader from the NCP, Nana Kate, said: “There is a need to hold an urgent meeting of corporators on the water issue.”
MNS House leader Sachin Chikale said the water cut has been imposed on the city without taking the leaders into confidence. “If you can’t provide water to residents, then don’t provide water to new housing projects,” he said.
NCP corporator Raju Misal said the BJP-ruled PCMC has failed on all fronts. “It has failed to handle the water situation. We can understand when there is water shortage, but when there is enough water, they are making residents struggle for every drop. During the NCP regime, this never happened,” he said. Accusing the PCMC administration of bribery, Shiv Sena House leader Rahul Kalate said, “Even for water connections, officials ask for money. Files move from one table to another only when officials are bribed. The civic chief should look into these problems seriously.” Echoing his views, corporator Harshal Dhore said, “I had applied for 35 water connections for my area. Despite making several rounds, only 19 connections have been given,” he said.BJP house leader Eknath Pawar said the civic chief should hold officials responsible and take action against them. “There should be immediate action against guilty officials and contractors,” he said.
Commissioner Shravan Hardikar said there was a “water emergency like situation” prevailing in Pimpri-Chinchwad. “Due to rising population, which has gone past 25 lakh, the civic administration is finding it difficult to adequately distribute water to the entire city. Besides, leakages and deficiency in the system and lack of enough water sources have created an emergency like situation,” he said.
Hardikar said half of the city gets adequate stock of water while the other half remains water-deficient. “Twenty-seven per cent residents with water connections get 150 litre water per person, 25 per cent get 135 litre per person and 50 per cent get 120 litre water per person. There is a need to work on ensuring equitable distribution of water. We hope the 24 X 7 water project will ease the problem,” he said.
Hardikar said areas like Dighi, Bopkhel, Dapodi, Wakad, Pimple Saudagar are on higher levels, making it difficult for the administration to ensure adequate supply. “Unless we improve our supply system, the situation in these areas will not improve,” he said. Stating that it was important to curtail the consumption of water, Hardikar said, “We give free water up to 40 litre. However, there is no control over water use above 135 litre.”