The state government has informed the Bombay high court that the reason behind denying drinking water to slums, in view of a government circular and relevant Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) rules, was to prevent unauthorised constructions and encroachment on public land.
An affidavit filed by Seema Dhamdhere, joint secretary, urban development department states that the circular envisaged the appointment of officers for the prevention of unauthorised encroachment.
Slum dwellers from across the city have moved court seeking to quash a state government circular and a subsequent BMC rule denying water connection to slums that have cropped up after January 1, 1995.
According to Milind More, assistant government pleader, following a 2010 government resolution, local municipal authorities were instructed to provide private and group water connections to protected slum dwellers by way of public water booths. Dhamdhere added that individual post-paid water connections should not be given to non-protected slums liable for demolition. Appearing for petitioners, advocate Mihir Desai said that the BMC should at least provide a group water connection.
The court had asked the BMC to clarify its stand on the issue within two weeks. Around 2,84,309 families have been affected by the 2010 government resolution, the petition says.