Demand for Equitable Water Supply and Distribution System

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To        : Shri Narendra Modi, Hon’ble Prime Minister of India

To       :  Shri Devendra Fadnavis Hon’ble Chief Minister of Maharashtra

Question of water affects all living beings, no matter which background or where we are from. Although this petition maybe Pune specific, this crisis will engulf all of us all sooner not later, if governance is not made to realise the seriousness in order to take immediate pre-emptive integrate measures. Hence, please sign up to indicate collective support since without a priceless natural resource such as water, our future generations may be condemned to extinction.

By the year 2020, 21 Indian cities will be without ground water according to NITI Aayog’s Composite Water management Index (CWMI) – A National Tool for Water Measurement, Management & Improvement published in Jun 2018. Pune will soon become another Chennai if State of Maharashtra does not act immediately.

We tax-paying Punekars collectively demand to be treated equally in accordance to Article 14 & 15 of the Indian Constitution viz. supply & distribution of water. This is definitely not what the governance of any city that aspires to be SMART should be ignoring.

PMC claims that 13 TMC water that it gets annually from Irrigation Dept is not enough to supply 50 lakh plus population. In the midst of this uncertainty, PMC blatantly abdicates from its obligatory duty of supplying water to citizens under sec 63 of the Maharashtra Municipal Corporation Act 1949, although it charges standard 12% water tax (increased annually) as part of property tax bill.

Every summer month bring ominous, traumatic and stressful warnings about water rationing, depleting dam levels & decreasing ground water reserves. While some areas in Pune get adequate water supply, others get maybe half hour once in two-three days. Stepping in, tanker companies to do roaring business by charging exorbitant rates to supply us water which is filled from PMC’s water stations.  So the question is, why can’t PMC supply the same water directly through PMC’s supply & distribution lines to us without us tax-payers having to resort to this expensive intermediary?

During this crisis, Corporators & MLAs whom we elected to represent general public interest in 2017 & 2014 have not together to make a representation to the State. But make a stray press statement or two on piecemeal basis.

Since the Hon’ble PM  has announced the Jal Shakti Abhiyaan which Pune City has supposedly vowed to support this through Jal Shahar Abhiyaan, there is no reason for the State not to smarten up to order Commissioner Pune Municipal Corporation to define an integrated, stringent, system based, robust  time-bound plan to (i) roll out Bhama Askhed project @ Rs. 380 crores plus  (limping along though it started in 2014) (ii) install and activate 24x7 hydraulic design system @ Rs. 2900 crores which will assure distribution, control & measured usage so we can be billed at actual (hiccupping since 2016) (iii) reduce non-revenue losses (iv) map the city’s natural aquifers (cell is still being formed ??? ) (v) keep political bickering away (vi) ensure that all Sewage Treatment Plants are functional as per National Green Tribunal norms so treated grey water can be used for all construction purpose, transport hubs such as Metro, Railways, etc. (vii) check http://nagrikchetna.in/waterwoes.aspx for details.

While the picture is very clear to everyone, the State behaves myopic and is not serious to (a) incorporate integrated schemes to increase ground water levels & re-charge aquifers / borewells  (b) insist that Rain Water Harvesting schemes should be mandatorily installed on private establishments as per notification dated 06/06/2007 (c) ban cutting of trees & destroying forests (d) protect tekdis which could be termed as groundwater recharge sanctuaries (e) ban building of concrete roads as they are not porous (f) ban builders from signing water affidavits in order to get occupancy certificates (f) ban all construction that will destroy natural recharge sites and parts of aquifers (g) ) check http://nagrikchetna.in/waterwoes.aspx for details.

Truth is that since there is an absence of a technical integrated plan in place, water supply and distribution in Pune is completely & deliberately scattered, mismanaged and mishandled. Making hay out of this purposeful confusion is the illegal activity and nexus which is allowed to blatantly flourish.

Pune & the State of Maharashtra cannot shut itself out from reality that ground water levels are depleting at a rapid rate and so a stringent disciplined technical systemic change needs to be put into place as of yesterday. What the State intends to do, if at all needs to be visibly seen & working within the next three months and before the announcement of the Model Code of Conduct for State elections.                

For details connect to check http://nagrikchetna.in/waterwoes.aspx

Qaneez Sukhrani

27th July 2019