The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is seriously considering an autonomous body to handle Mumbai’s water supply system.
This body will take its own decisions and have its own budget but will be under the control of the civic body, just like the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking.
The undertaking will be modelled on the lines of the Delhi Jal Board that looks after water supply in the capital.
For citizens, this will mean better water supply as the process will be handled by professionals who can take quick decisions according to the needs of the city.
Currently, the system is handled by the water supply department of the BMC, which does not have enough expert staff to improve the quality of Mumbai’s 4,000 km long water distribution network.
The plan is the brainchild of municipal commissioner Subodh Kumar who had proposed it a decade ago during his stint as additional commissioner in charge of water supply.
On Thursday, Kumar said, “The proposal was cleared in the group leaders’ meeting 10 years ago but has not been implemented. I have told the additional municipal commissioner to study the details.”
The idea is to get dedicated and permanent staff for the department, which is not so in the current system.
Besides professional management, a separate entity status will also help the civic body get loans or funds from the World Bank for various water projects.
The water department budget is more than Rs 5,000 crore, but it cannot raise money from the market as it is part of a governance body.
Kumar plans to make the body a reality within a year.
“The proposed body will be headed either by the mayor or a municipal commissioner. A 12-13 member committee have experts from the water supply field,” said Rahul Shewale, chairman of the civic standing committee.