Mumbai: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has proposed a much-touted Rs 18,000 crore Water desalination project. But before implementing it, the corporation must look into the water thefts, tanker mafias and the resultant illegal turnover of Rs 3,000 crore.
BJP leader MLA Adv. Ashish Shelar brought it to the notice of BMC commissioner and the Ground Water Commissioner vide a letter that such thefts must be stopped immediately ensuring that Mumbaikars’ money is not wasted.
BJP leader MLA Adv. Ashish Shelar wrote letters to Municipal Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal and Groundwater Survey and Development Agency commissioner C.D Joshi highlighting some of the serious issues concerning water thefts and excessive water extraction in the entire Mumbai Metropolitan Region including Mumbai. MLA Adv. Ashish Shelar has also demanded that SIT must be appointed to investigate this matter and take necessary action.
According to a survey conducted by the Central Groundwater Department, the city of Mumbai has more than 19,000 water wells, of which nearly 12,500 are bore wells. The BMC has issued notices to nearly 251 wells, of which 216 are illegal wells. Also according to media reports, water worth nearly Rs 80 crore is getting stolen from single water well.
Since there is no regulation or strict enforcement of the law, it is believed that illegal water tanker mafias are looting water to the tune of Rs 3,000 crore in Mumbai alone. Hence it is necessary to investigate this illegal and uncontrolled water theft in Mumbai and instantly stop it by imposing huge fines on them. Considering the potential of Mumbai’s existing groundwater resources, it is essential to determine the water usage policy through a scientific approach.
Hence it is necessary to immediately form an SIT committee in coordination with the BMC and the other municipalities in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region in this regard.
Those found guilty of extracting groundwater without necessary permission or regulation must be immediately prosecuted and penal action must be initiated against them. A policy of how much water should be pumped must be decided after studying the groundwater capacity in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region including Mumbai. MLA Adv. Ashish Shelar also demanded that all the municipal corporations in Mumbai and the Mumbai Metropolitan Region must decide on their own water conservation policy and implement it depending on their water requirement for playgrounds, gardens, etc.
While on one hand, the BMC has cancelled the Gargai dam project, it is spending Rs 18,000 crore on the desalination project. MLA Adv. Ashish Shelar raised serious concern over this ‘water trade’ and Rs 3,000 crore worth of illegal racket operational in Mumbai.