CM inaugurates ‘Water For All’ policy

The policy aims towards providing water connection to unmapped settlements of Mumbai, which include slum clusters, Gaothan (erstwhile villages) and Koliwada (fishing villages) settlements
While in the policy document, BMC stated that the policy has been launched on humanitarian grounds, it also maintained that providing water supply should not be validated as a document towards claiming ownership or title of any property before the court of the law (Anshuman Poyrekar/HT Photo)
While in the policy document, BMC stated that the policy has been launched on humanitarian grounds, it also maintained that providing water supply should not be validated as a document towards claiming ownership or title of any property before the court of the law (Anshuman Poyrekar/HT Photo)
Updated on May 07, 2022 09:55 PM IST
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ByPratip Acharya

Mumbai Ahead of the upcoming civic elections chief minister, Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday inaugurated the ambitious ‘Water for all’ policy of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

The policy aims towards providing water connection to unmapped settlements of Mumbai, which include slum clusters, Gaothan (erstwhile villages) and Koliwada (fishing villages) settlements, and illegal non-slum residential structures.

This policy will also benefit the inhabitants of unauthorised settlements on several government land parcels including railways, forest departments and collector’s land. So far, the civic body was not giving water connections to unauthorised or illegal structures.

While in the policy document, BMC stated that the policy has been launched on humanitarian grounds, it also maintained that providing water supply should not be validated as a document towards claiming ownership or title of any property before the court of the law.

Speaking at the event, chief minister Uddhav Thackeray said that supplying water will not mean that an unauthorised structure has been given any legality.

“While we are talking about the water for all policy. There’s also a question that how much potable water is available to give to people. The BMC is rigorously working towards expanding the means of water supply by setting up Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) and Desalination Plant to ensure the seawater gets recycled and there is adequate stock of water,” said Thackeray.

Civic chief Iqbal Singh Chahal during the inaugural speech of this policy said that this policy will be implemented from May 8 (Sunday) onwards.

“We are the first municipal body to launch such a policy. Every human has the right to water without any discrimination. The constitution also mandates water for all which we are implementing,” said Chahal.

The policy

In its policy document, BMC has said that the water connection will be provided through the conventional ‘Stand Post Connection’ to a group of a minimum of 15 slum-dwellers. A stand-post water system is like a tap supported by a riser pipe from which members of a community could draw water during a given point of time. These posts will be connected to the main water supply valves of the BMC.

To avail of the policy, the applicants will have to approach the local ward office along with identity proof documents and proof of the duration of their stay in that area.

The clauses also state that the drainage facilities will have to create by the applicants at their own expenses and must acquire NOC from the BMC departments to ensure proper and sufficient management of wastewater drainage is implemented. Furthermore, the BMC policy also states that in case the water supply network is not properly maintained properly by the users, then the connection could be terminated.

The clause also states that any dilapidated buildings that have been categorised as a C-1 structure by the BMC which means that they are unfit for habitation and roadside hutments and shanties that have been set up on footpaths will not be eligible for availing the benefits of this policy.

Authorities speak

Additional municipal commissioner (Projects), P Velrasu who is in charge of this project has said that the BMC is equipped with adequate infrastructure to extend its water supply pipelines to ensure there is uninterrupted supply.

“Mumbai gets water from 27 reservoirs and seven lakes. So, we have a well-connected water supply network and new connections are provided to beneficiaries almost regularly so expanding the pipeline will not be a problem,” said Velrasu.

“This is not a voluntary policy. The applicants will have to apply to us following which the BMC officials will verify the location to make sure that all the clauses are fulfilled by them then only we will allow them the connection,” he said

Velrasu said that if the municipal body receives an application from encroachers in government lands demanding water connection, then the civic authorities will write to the parent body of that land to keep them informed.

“The government agencies, who are the owners of that land will have to give us their objection within three weeks saying why we shouldn’t give them the connection. If they fail to do, then we will go ahead and provide them with the water connections considering the applicants fulfil all the criteria,” said Velrasu.

Citizen’s voice

Milind Mhaske, CEO of NGO Praja Foundation, said that this water for all policy was promised by all the political parties in their manifesto before the 2017 elections.

“Even though this was proposed back in 2017, the official announcement happened pretty late. It’s good that the BMC has decided to provide water supply on humanitarian grounds while at the same time they also need to bring out policies towards more serious problems like affordable housing,” said Mhaske.

Anant Deshmukh, a city-based urban planner said, “The policy and approach sound good, but we need to see how well BMC succeeds in the final implementation because there are frequent issues of water cuts and disrupted supply regularly in Mumbai.”

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