While the city is reeling under a 20% water cut, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena are in the midst of a blame game over the crisis.
On Wednesday, BJP MP Kirit Somaiya blamed the city mayor, standing committee chairman and Sena leaders for not tackling the growing tanker mafia and demanded an inquiry by municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta.
The senior BJP leader said, in the past four months, only 9,181 municipal water tankers were supplied to the city, compared to 38,999 private water tankers. “These tankers are specifically for drinking purpose in residential areas in case of emergency. But the BMC has supplied water to private tankers and, in turn, helped the builders. The Sena leaders should have taken up the issue with the administration. Why didn’t they do it,” asked Somaiya.
He alleged the BMC sells water to private tankers at 1 paisa a litre, who then sell it in the market at Rs1 a litre.
Of the 38,999 tankers, Somaiya alleged 13,424 private tankers were issued from the M-East ward, which includes Mankhurd, Govandi and Deonar, while only 915 municipal tankers were supplied in the ward in the past four months.
Somaiya said the BMC is not allowed to transport water from wells, tube wells and bore wells, which is meant for use in building premises.
Refuting Somaiya’s statements on the Sena, Trushna Vishwasrao, leader of the house and senior Sena leader in the BMC, said, “What does he [Somaiya] know about the issues taken up by us? We have been demanding an investigation on the tanker mafia. What have the BJP corporators done till date?”
A senior civic official from the hydraulic department of BMC, who was present at the meeting, said, “The commissioner has asked for details from the authorities before taking a decision.”