The state government is getting tough with the city’s water mafia.
P K Jain, the state principal secretary (Home), has written to both the Mumbai police chief and the municipal commissioner, asking for concerted efforts to fight this group.
In the letter, he said that any water supplier with two or more FIRs registered against him, must be externed, or face tough action under the Maharashtra Prevention of Dangerous Activities (MPDA) Act.
Jain also wrote that any civic employee or plumber found involved with the water mafia in laying illegal water connections should also face legal action. However, municipal Commissioner Swadheen Kshatriya said: “I have not seen the letter yet. Only once I see it can I comment on it”. Hindustan Times has a copy of the letter.
“The highest number of complaints registered with the civic control room for water pilferage are from the eastern suburbs.
The menace is worst in areas like Govandi, Shivaji Nagar, Deonar and Baiganwadi near Mankhurd,” said a civic official from the Water Department, requesting anonymity. Slums and lower middle class localities in this belt face water shortage largely because of illegal connections.
Water leakage is also a major worry for the civic body, which finds 700 million litres daily (MLD) lost due to leakage out of the total of about 3,000 MLD it supplies to the city every day.
In a protest last week against the water shortage, one of the agitators died of heart attack after police caned them. This week, Sharmila Thackeray, wife of MNS chief Raj Thackeray met Kshatriya and said the BMC would face another agitation if it did not take action against the water mafia.