WITH a little more than two months to go for Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation polls, the elected body of the municipality has passed a resolution promising drinking water to all buildings and shanty-towns in the area, including those that do not have necessary documents like occupation certificates (OCs). The resolution was passed at the general body meeting last week. Mira Bhayandar region is known for large number of unauthorised constructions that have mushroomed over the past one decade. But with elections round the corner and water shortage being an important issue, corporators across all parties have supported the resolution.
Narendra Mehta, BJP corporator and legislator, had raised the issue last week, saying additional drinking water from the state should be given to all buildings, chawls and slums. “The civic body stopped giving new connections in 2011. The population of the satellite town has risen by almost 2.5 lakh in the past five years. Although some buildings don’t have OCs and chawls and slums may be illegal, it is not right to deny them water,” Mehta told The Indian Express. “If we are providing them with medical treatment, then why should we not provide water, which is a basic requirement? This has given rise to tanker mafias. The civic body can take action against illegalities of buildings and slums but it should provide water.”
Officials said Mira Bhayandar municipality is supposed to get 100 million litre a day (mld) from Barvi dam after its height is raised. But that might take another year.
Mehta claimed a decision to supply 100 mld of water from irrigation department to the satellite town was taken during the budget session of Assembly this year. “Now, we are getting 25 mld and we will get 50 mld by the end of the month,” he said.
Bhagwati Sharma, an NCP corporator, said although drinking water should be given to all, the issue should not be politicised ahead of the polls. “Of the total houses built in the past 10 years, almost 50 per cent do not have OCs. The civic administration should prioritise. There are some buildings that have been constructed till 1995 and have OCs but don’t have sufficient water. Then, the protected slums, illegal buildings and slums should be given preference,” Sharma said.
Mayor of Mira Bhayandar, Geeta Jain, a BJP corporator, said she had asked the civic administration to draft a policy to make water available to all. “We have started giving new connections. Buildings with OCs will be given connections first. For those without OCs or with illegalities, penalties can be levied and connections can be given.”