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Navi Mumbai villagers seek proper water supply, good roads since 1960

Owe camp has a population of around 3,000 people who were rehabilitated from the Koyna dam site way back in 1960

mumbai Updated: May 25, 2018 00:14 IST
Padmja Sinha
Padmja Sinha
Hindustan Times
Navi Mumbai,Owe Camp,Kharghar
Though situated near picturesque Pandavkada waterfall in Kharghar, life is not easy for the villagers (Bachchan Kumar/HT)

Located around five kilometres from Kharghar’s pride, Utsav Chowk, and despite being part of one of the most well-developed nodes of Navi Mumbai, Owe camp village at Sector 30 in Kharghar is struggling for basic facilities such as proper water supply and motorable roads.

Owe camp has a population of around 3,000 people who were rehabilitated from the Koyna dam site way back in 1960. While the villagers have been braving dust pollution and bad roads for a long time, the worst they have faced so far is the water problem – the village gets Cidco water only for 30 minutes each day.

Though situated near the picturesque Pandavkada waterfall in Kharghar, life is not easy for the villagers. They face heavy noise pollution every day because of the blasting that takes place as part of the mining work that goes on nearby. Navi Mumbai Municipal Transport (NMMT) buses have made commuting easy for the villagers but the ride from the NMMT bus stop till the village is a bumpy ride filled with bad roads.

Ramchandra Jadhav, 33, an Owe camp resident, said, “Water crisis looms every summer and has worsened over the past few years. This year the situation has worsened as the water supplied by City Industrial Development Corporation (Cidco) comes for only 30 minutes in the morning. Though there are taps at different places, as supply is very thin it becomes difficult for women to collect water for everyday usage in just 30 minutes.”

Last month, Jadhav also led a protest in the area by blocking the service road to Tata Hospital. The protesting villagers demanded an end to blasting, water facility and good roads. Except initial relief – a small patch of road was laid on the way to the village -- the villagers got little else.

Water wells might be a thing of past in the metro, but Owe camp is one of the areas where people depend on its water to fulfill their everyday needs. At the village, women often wait for more than an hour to fetch water from wells that have little or no water in them. Owe village has two man-made wells.

Women carrying pots filled with water over their head is a common sight at Owe village, while fetching water from the borewell too is not easy as it takes more than half an hour to fill the utensil.

Savitri L, 34, a resident of the village, said, “We are forced to get water from the well as the Cidco water supply is not enough. While we use the Cidco water for drinking, water from the well is used for other household activities.”

A close look at the well highlighted that water from the nearby gutter is seeping slowly into the base of the borewell and villagers are using same water for daily usage. Probably as a result of this, many people have suffered from skin infections in the area but there doesn’t seem to be a solution in sight.

Water problem, bad roads and dust pollution because of continuous movement of loader vehicles in the area have affected the life of the villagers. What has worsened the situation is the constant blasting as a result of the mining work.

Blasting happens thrice a day -- in the morning, afternoon and evening. Many homes have developed visible cracks, weakening the foundation of the houses. Villagers have taken out repair work many times, but cracks are still visible.

With officials and elected representatives seeming to turn a blind eye to the problem, the villagers have written a letter to district collector Vijay Suryavanshi and will be meeting him soon.

Pollution concerns

“We hear loud noises at night and we also see our houses vibrate, at times we mistake the blasting for earthquake and panic. During summer the air pollution worsens as dust doesn’t settle down and we are forced to inhale air filled with dust. Most of the elders have started complaining about breathing problems and even children are at risk,” said Asmita Jadhav, 45, a local resident

“Prolonged exposure to loud noise can lead to hearing loss to some extent and also affects concentration and interferes with the sleeping pattern. People residing near the mining area are at a risk as they are constantly exposed to loud noise,” said Dr Neena Waghmare, a general physician from Kharghar. “Polluted groundwater can lead to many disorders and stomach infection. Groundwater in such areas are laden with harmful chemicals, hence it is advised to better not use them and drink potable water supplied by the civic body or from other clean sources,” she said.

Officialspeak

Raigad collector Vijay Suryavanshi said, “The Panvel tehsildar has been instructed to look into the issues, meet villagers and make a brief of the problem so that necessary action could be taken.”

Sandhya Bawankule, deputy commissioner Panvel City Municipal Corporation, said, “Villagers have enlisted their problem, Cidco is the nodal agency providing amenity in PCMC nodes as well, hence we will speak to them about the problem.”

BOX

One water tap each for every 10 houses in the village

Water pipeline to the village was laid in 2011

Water supply in the area is erratic

Owe camp village is just 5km from Kharghar railway station. However, it is nowhere on the growth map

There is a municipal school for the villagers where students can study till Class 7 and for further studies students go to another school in Shil Phata

Villagers travel even 2-3 km to other villages to fetch water

There are 350 hutments in the village

Cidco supplies water to the village through a 60,000 litre tank from 6.30am to 7am but is not enough for population of 3,000

By May-end, the wells dry up every year

First Published: May 25, 2018 00:14 IST