Nearly one-and-a-half years ago, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) laid pipelines that would supply water to 27 tribal hamlets in Aarey Milk Colony, at the cost of Rs 20 crore. But, the civic body has still not installed the pumps required to draw water. Reason: The BMC wants a written assurance from the tribals that they would be responsible for the maintenance, operation and payment of electricity bills of the pumps.
According to the civic body, the tenders for installation of 14 pumps that would draw water from underground tanks would be invited only after the tribals submit the assurance letter. Around four hamlets (padas) would share one tank.
The state has asked the BMC to lay the pipelines after 30,000 residents of the tribal belt in the forest area of Aarey Milk Colony in Goregaon complained of acute water supply and their dependence on local stable owners.
Shiv Sena MLA Ravindra Waikar said that the civic body should ask the public works department (PWD) to shoulder the responsibility. Additional municipal commissioner, Rajeev Jalota, said: "The locals must take up the responsibility. We will check with the PWD too."
Locals say they will never be able to operate the valves as they aren't trained and the electricity bill too will be unaffordable.