There is little change in the situation at the slum rehabilitation building in Worli where two pregnant women died of water contamination in April 2010, the Bombay High Court was told on Thursday.
A division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice DG Karnik — hearing a public interest litigation filed by Siddharth Khandagale and Rajnish Kamble pointing out that Vrushali Pawar (26) and Kavita Aitala (23) had died of waterborne diseases — told the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to file an affidavit stating what it would do to ensure clean water is supplied to the city.
When BMC Counsel KK Singhvi informed the court that they have been taking the necessary steps, the petitioners’ counsel Rakesh Agrawal said nothing has been done to improve hygiene in the area. “I will produce photographs of the area,” he added.
A report submitted by Agrawal, as per an earlier court order, said there were several violations with regard to placement of water tanks and sewerage tanks. The report suggested that all illegal water connections be disconnected as they were one of the main causes of contamination. Also, they were not laid in conformity with the rules.
Water pipes are worn out, rusted and breached, the report said. According to the Mumbai Municipal Corporation (MMC) Act, water closets should be at least 20 feet away from the water tank.
However, in the building at Worli, the suction pump was only three feet away from the sewerage tank. “These three tanks must be demolished constructed in conformity with the MMC Act,” the report said. Photographs submitted with the PIL showed that the tank was virtually embedded in debris and filth from overflowing gutters.
The report suggested that people should not be allowed to live in buildings that don’t have occupation certificates. Earlier, the BMC had claimed it provided water to the Worli building on humanitarian grounds.