Those responsible for damaging pipelines will soon have to face criminal proceedings.
The government has asked the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to file criminal cases against those who damage water pipelines, especially while carrying out civil work. There have been 19 instances of pipe bursts in and around Mumbai in March alone, mostly because of digging for civic or infrastructure projects.
“Most of these occur because of digging work. Many pipelines are more than 50 years old,” Minister of State for Urban Development, Bhaskar Jadhav, said in the legislative Council on Thursday. “The BMC should conduct criminal proceedings against people or utilities, who do not take prior permissions to carry out work.”
Jadhav was replying to a question raised by Shiv Sena legislator, Neelam Gorhe, about frequent incidents of pipeline bursts in the city. “People don’t take permissions for digging and the pipeline replacement work is going slow,” said Gorhe.
Member of Legislative Council (MLC), Kapil Patil, also asked Jadhav if the tanker mafia was damaging pipelines to create water scarcity and further its business. Jadhav said in the past five years, 348 kms of old water pipelines have been replaced and 263 kms of pipeline have been repaired. “Currently, 64 kms of pipelines are being replaced while 46 kms are under repairs,” he said.
Jadhav said action has been taken against people responsible for pipe bursts. “We have closed around 1,200 illegal connections, seized 378 booster pumps and detected 1,031 leaks. In these cases, 118 FIRs have been lodged,” said Jadhav.
Peasants Workers Party MLC, Jayant Patil, asked if the state is planning a policy that will look at this issue.
Jadhav said the government will look into the suggestion of forming a policy to look at details like the type of pipelines to be used, life of pipelines and how often they need to be replaced. He added that in case there is another pipe burst, the state will intervene and decide the course of action.