Upset with water supply crisis in Chembur, angry Sainiks ransacked the hydraulic engineer’s office at the municipal headquarters on Tuesday.
The Sena workers said they were protesting for the 35,000 residents of the Panjarpol area in Chembur.
The incident took place when civic Hydraulic Engineer DM Gondaliya, who is in charge of water supply, was in a meeting with the Sainiks, led by Sena Chembur corporator Mangala Kate.
In the middle of the discussion, Sena worker Nagesh Taute stood and swept away a glass of water on the table. Others too got up and smashed the wooden furniture in his office.
The Azad Nagar police reached the office within 30 minutes and arrested all Sainiks. Gondalia did not speak to the media on the issue.
The incident has irked civic officials too. It was the decision of the Shiv Sena-led civic body to impose a 15-per cent water cut in the city as the lakes have not filled to their capacity this monsoon, they said.
The administration was merely implementing the ruling party’s decision, said a civic official requesting anonymity.
But Sainiks argued that the authorities in the water department were rude and the ruling party was unnecessarily blamed for the water shortage.
“It was wrong to attack but the Sainiks got annoyed after the civic official said he would supply water if the residents could provide for tankers. That was unreasonable,” said leader of the House Sunil Prabhu.
The civic official also pointed out that the Sena was in power in the civic body for almost two decades but had done very little to solve the city’s water supply problem.
Prabhu argued: “We have got the Middle Vaitarna dam project done and have spent Rs 1800 crore on laying tunnels. Current water shortage is because of scanty rainfall for which even the rain god cannot help now.”
“Ward officer Prakash Mehta told me they have not been provided with funds to dig bore wells,” said Tukaram Kate, husband of the Chembur corporator, Mangala.
The BMC has provided each ward around Rs 50 lakh for borewells.
“The Sena is doing a good job but if the civic officials do not function properly people tend to blame the Sena. The officials are intentionally trying to ruin Sena’s image by creating a water shortage issue,” alleged Taute.