In a move to please voters residing in slums, the Congress party has demanded a supply of free drinking water to all slum dwellers in the city.
Vinod Shekhar, a Congress corporator from Colaba, wrote a letter to the Mayor Shraddha Jadhav, asking her to take up the issue before the civic general body meeting to discuss and get an approval by all parties. The civic administration and Jadhav however don't agree with the demand.
"It is not possible. This is nothing but an attempt to attract slum-votes because the civic elections are ahead," Jadhav said.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation(BMC) supplies 2,900 million litres of water per day(with the 15 per cent cuts in place) to the city, of which 80 per cent is supplied to residential areas and 20 per cent is for commercial consumers.
BMC spends Rs 10 for every 1,000 litres for water treatment and distribution.
In the 80 per cent of water supplied to residential areas, about 1,200 to 1,300 million goes to the slums at the concessional rate of Rs 2.25 per 1,000 litre. At this rate, the civic body gets more than Rs 50 crore from the slums every year.
Anil Diggikar, additional municipal commissioner also said that it will not be possible to supply free water to slum dwellers while the BMC is facing a financial crunch.
He said, "The issue will be discussed in the general body meeting and let them decide."
While Shekhar said, “Though the BMC supplies water at a very low cost, slum lords are making money out of it by
selling water to poor slumdwellers.”
“This means the BMC gets less revenue from the slum dwellers. So it is better to distribute water free of cost so that the middlemen stop making the money,” he added.
The issue will be discussed in general body meeting next week.