Corporators from different political parties, representing South and Central Mumbai, set aside their differences as they met civic chief Swadheen Kshatriya on Friday.
They were protesting the proposed equitable water distribution in the island city and suburbs, which could reduce the current water supply to the former. The agitation came in wake of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) decision to set up a sub committee to look at equitable distribution of water between the island city and both eastern and western suburbs.
The civic body had decided to set up a ‘Mumbai Water Review Standing Committee’ following a demand made by Ashish Shelar, BJP leader in the BMC. “There should be equal water distribution to the city as per population, density, green space and future development,” said Shelar.
There has been growing demand that suburbs require more civic amenities, especially water considering they are more densely populated. However, available civic data shows that the water supply of south and central Mumbai has already reduced by up to 110 million litre per day (MLD) in the last one year. According to the ‘White Paper’ (civic document) submitted to the civic standing committee in 2009, the island city was receiving 1,140 MLD water supply.
Janak Sanghavi, BJP corporator from Kalbadevi, who took initiative to meet the municipal chief, said, “Everyday more than 12 lakh people, over 50 per cent of the total island city population, come to the south Mumbai to work. So, the argument that island city is less crowded does not make sense. It would be injustice to reduce water supply here,” added Sanghavi.
Mayor Shraddha Jadhav, who represents a ward from central Mumbai, said, “I will call a meeting on Monday to find out what is the current water supply situation and how the issue could be sorted out.”
With civic elections less than a year-and-half away, corporators in the island city and the suburbs are both expected to be adamant on the issue. While Kshatriya was not available for comments, an officer from the water department said, “Immediately after the meeting, the municipal commissioner instructed the additional commissioner to schedule a meeting on Monday to discuss the issue.”