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HT Investigation - Pune’s water mafia exposed - Part III: Mafia punctures PMC water tank pipes in Wadgaonsheri

1.25 lakh-litre tank, meant for residents, used illegally to fill private water tankers.

pune Updated: May 21, 2018 14:46 IST
Hindustan Times, Pune
pune,maharashtra,water mafia
Tankers line up to illegally fill water from the PMC tank in Wadgaonsheri. (Inset) Private tanker draws water from the punctured main pipeline of the PMC tank.(Sanket Wankhade/HT PHOTO)

The blatant, daylight theft of lakhs of litres of municipal water supply is happening not just from the Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC) water tanker filling stations in the city, as revealed by Hindustan Times on Sunday, but also from many other points.

One such point is the 1.25 lakh litres water tank at Wadgaonsheri where the supply pipeline itself has been punctured to fill tanker after tanker with thousands of litres of water, day in and day out.

A team from HT physically inspected this spot last week and found that about 35 tankers of 10,000 litres were being illegally filled by one of the tanker operators. The water tankers then headed to many shopping malls, building construction sites and educational complexes in Wadgaonsheri and other areas.

Last week, a water tanker with registration number MH- 12 DG- 7254 was found filling water from this point. The tanker then headed to a construction site of Bramha Corp Real Estate developers at Sainikwadi area in Wadgaonsheri. On the way, the tanker stopped at a few roadside restaurants to supply water and collect money.

One prominent tanker operator from Wadgaonsheri was found to be filling 35 tankers from his fleet and supplying water to a prominent international deemed university campus at Vimannagar and a mall on Ahmednagar road on a regular basis. These establishments paid between Rs 2,500 to Rs 3,000 for each tanker of 10,000 litres capacity.

Rather shockingly, there was no resistance of any kind from civic officials of the PMC’s water supply department or the local ward office.

When asked about the PMC’s failure to take action against this illegal filling operation, VG Kulkarni, head of the water supply department, said, “No tanker has been allowed to fill at the PMC’s Wadgaonsheri water tank. Tankers are supposed to fill water only at the authorised water filling stations in the city. These are located at seven points such as Parvati, Chatuhshrungi, Yerawada, Ramtekdi, Wadgaonsheri, Padmavati and Patwardhan baug.”

When pointed out that tankers belonging to the water tanker operator Mahadev Galande were filling illegally at the Wadgaonsheri water tank, Kulkarni said, “We have received many complaints against Galande. I promise you we will look into the matter and take appropriate action against people behind this racket. We will also increase our vigilance to catch these water thieves red-handed,” he said.

TOMORROW: Housing societies held to ransom by Pune’s water mafia

First Published: May 21, 2018 14:45 IST