Sena leaders gave PCMC chief a bottle of muddy water. (Express)
As protests over the drinking water shortage in Pimpri-Chinchwad continue, BJP MLA Laxman Jagtap has asked Municipal Commissioner Shravan Hardikar to provide at least 350 litres of water per family. In case the civic administration fails to do so, it has been asked to provide free tanker water to families in the industrial city.
“Two days ago, I held a meeting with PCMC officials and told them to provide 70 litres of water per person as per the norms. For a family of five, that’s 350 litres of water. If the administration is not in a position to provide the stated quota, it should provide free tanker water to the families concerned,” said Jagtap, who is also the BJP’s Pimpri-Chinchwad unit president.
Jagtap said he has given the administration eight days’ time to get things in order. “Protests are happening which means local residents are facing problems...The administration should get its act together quickly so that the residents can be pacified,” he said.
In the last fortnight, Pimpri-Chinchwad has witnessed protests and demonstrations by political parties, activists and local residents every day after the PCMC administration decided to introduce a system of alternate-day water supply. Local residents have questioned the administration’s move at a time when the Pavana dam was filled to capacity and Pavana river also had ample quantity of water.
Jagtap said the civic administration was not solely responsible for the current situation. “The PCMC has been trying to replace old pipelines and lay new ones. However, it has faced objections from local residents and even corporators in acquiring land and getting permission for laying the new pipelines,” he said.
Civic officials also said they were facing major problems in the process. “Since a prabhag has four corporators, all of them want the pipeline to be laid at a specific place. This creates confusion and leads to delays,” said a PCMC official.
When asked about Jagtap’s directives, Joint City Engineer Makrand Nikam said, “The standard norm is providing 135 litres of water per person. Jagtap has directed us to provide at least half of that. We are making all efforts to ensure that areas which do not get water get adequate stock.”
Meanwhile, the local unit of the Shiv Sena, led by MP Shrirang Barne, former MP Shivajirao Adhalrao-Patil and several Shiv Sainiks, met the civic chief on Saturday and threatened a “Shiv-Sena style” agitation if regular water supply was not restored within eight days.
Sena’s Pimpri-Chinchwad unit president Yogesh Babar said, “We told the commissioner that he has no control over his administration and he was taking decisions which were proving to be a nightmare for local residents. We told him that when there was so much water in the dam, why was his administration depriving local residents of their daily quota of drinking water?”
Babar said Sena leaders told the PCMC administration to restore proper supply in eight days or face a “Sena-style agitation.”
Nikam said civic officials promised the Sena that in the next one week, the complaints from local residents will subside. At the meeting, Sena leader Sulbha Ubale presented a bottle of muddy water to the civic chief.