Nine years after they first approached the authorities for a water connection, the wait will soon be over for 15,915 slum-dwellers in the shanties of Darukhana in Sewri. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has almost finished laying 4.3km of new water pipelines in Darukhana, which includes areas such as Kaula Bunder, Coal Bunder and Lakri Bunder.
The work of laying pipelines has been going on since March, at a cost of Rs5.54 crore, after the Pani Haq Samiti got a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT), which owns the land, in 2019. The Samiti has been fighting for equitable water distribution in the city for years and has been following up with the Darukhana issue since 2010. “The work is in the final stage. We’ll start the water supply soon,” said a hydraulic department official.
In Darukhana, the slum dwellers, who are mostly labourers in the scrap market, had been buying water for their daily needs for decades. “It costs us Rs300 to Rs400 every month to buy water. Some would also steal water,” said Fayaz Shaikh, a resident of Kaula Bunder.
Water rights activists have hailed the move as a landmark event for the city, where most slum-dwellers — who form 52% of Mumbai’s population — do not have proper access to water. “This is the first time the Centre has given a nod for water supply to slums in its land. We are hoping this sets a precedent for other agencies like Railways and forest departments, which also have a huge number of slums on their land,” said Sitaram Shelar, convenor, Pani Haq Samiti.
The Samiti had previously got an NOC from MbPT in 2013. “But, due to procedural issues, the NOC had lapsed,” he said.
May 12, 2019 01:50 IST
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