Pune water cuts: Shirole targets BJP, but later suspends strike after mayor’s assurance
Mayor Mukta Tilak, who was out of town, confirmed on the phone that she called a meeting with MP Shirole to discuss the water crisis issue on Sunday and appealed to him to not to go on a strike.pune Updated: Oct 28, 2018 15:17 IST
Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Anil Shirole, who is also a member of Parliament (MP) from Pune, had threatened to go on a hunger strike to protest the poor water supply in the city, but on Saturday decided to suspend it after mayor Mukta Tilak promised to call an urgent meeting regarding the issue on Sunday.
The water supply in the city became uneven after the irrigation department decided to shut two pumps supplying water to the city. Thereafter, the administration of Pune municipal corporation came up with a timetable for water supply. Pune municipal corporation (PMC) decided to start its water cuts from October 29. The city will get only water only once in the day for a maximum of five hours.
Shirole said, “Though we are the ruling party in the city, it is true that residents are facing a severe water crisis. We can accept such kind of a situation during the summer season, but the monsoons just got over and the dams are full. This water crisis is due to lack of management and residents are suffering. This is not acceptable.”
Shirole was supposed to start the agitation in front of PMC headquarters on Saturday morning, but office-bearers of the corporation and the municipal commissioner Saurabh Rao requested him to suspend the hunger strike. They assured Shirole that they will discuss the issue in an urgent meeting. After the assurance, Shirole issued a press statement announcing his decision to suspend the agitation.
Mayor Mukta Tilak, who was out of town, confirmed on the phone that she called a meeting with MP Shirole to discuss the water crisis issue on Sunday and appealed to him to not to go on a strike.
This was an awkward situation for the BJP, as Shirole criticised his own party, which is the ruling party in the municipal corporation, for the water shortage issues in the city. “It is a shame that central areas of the city like Model Colony, Prabhat road are facing water problems and residents need to call water tankers to fulfil their water requirements. Such situations never arise in the city. Hence, I decided to stand up against the decision of water cuts, even though my party is ruling in the PMC.”
Activists have alleged a nexus between the water tanker mafia and the officials of the civic body. “Water cuts of this magnitude increases the scope of business for the water tankers. There is no option left for the housing societies, but to rely on water tankers as five-hour water supply will not be sufficient,” said Vivek Velankar of NGO Sajag Nagarik Manch.
As the mayor decided to call an urgent meeting on the issue and the administration representatives would also be present for it, I have decided to suspend the agitation.
First Published: Oct 28, 2018 15:16 IST