The bench had gone into the details of the PIL and took note of the grave situation of water scarcity stated in the PIL in context to the urban areas of Pune district. The Bombay high court had taken note of the above information and had directed that a special committee be constituted separately for PMC and PCMC. And such committees shall attend to the complaints of the residents regarding water scarcity. The PMRDA was also directed to address the water problems faced by the residents coming under their jurisdiction.
Pune, 23rd November 2023: the PIL 126/2023 regarding water problem faced by the residents of urban areas of Pune district was last heard by the division bench headed by acting chief justice SV GANGAPURWALA and justice Sandeep Marne at Bombay high court on 10.04.2023.
The committee is to consist of 1) municipal commissioner 2) divisional commissioner 3) chief city engineer 4) member, secretary, district legal services authority. The committee therefore is to consist of people who are involved in the redressal of the water problem faced by the residents of the affected areas.
Where is the special committee? – citizens ask! Contempt of court petition to be filed.
Satya muley – advocate Bombay high court, stated that a notice was sent to the PMC, PCMC and PMRDA in the month of June 2023 requesting for information about formation of such a special committee. However, none of them responded by giving any information about the formation of the committee. Therefore, it is apparent that PMC, PCMC and PMRDA have not formed any such special committee. Therefore, a fresh legal notice has been issued on 22.11.2023 to PMC, PCMC and PMRDA. If we do not receive the information about formation of the special committee, then a contempt of court petition will be filed against all the respective office bearers who are supposed to be the members of the proposed committee.
PMC, PCMC & PMRDA not serious about water problems of the citizens.
In a similar PIL during 2016-17 the Bombay high court had directed the PMC to form a special committee to attend to the complaints of the residents regarding the water scarcity problem. Adv. Satya muley points PMC had formed such a committee in the past, but the committee met only for 4 times during 2017 and 2018, and very surprisingly was dissolved stating the reason that there was no water scarcity problem. He also pointed out that had such a committee been functional, today the grave situation of water scarcity would not have arisen in urban areas of Pune district. Earlier during the hearing of November 29, 2022, and December 15, 2022, the Bombay high court had expressed serious concerns about the issue and also had warned for imposing fine on the respondents for their slow response.
Water scarcity-current scenario
Several housing societies across Pune district are facing severe water shortages and spend huge amounts for purchase of water from private water tanker operators. Each and every neigh Bourhood of urban area of Pune district coming under PMC, PCMC and PMRDA are facing acute water shortage of drinking and domestic use water. As per ministry of housing and urban affairs, 135 Litres per capita per day (LPCD) has been suggested as the benchmark for urban water supply. The situation is so bad that in several areas of Pune residents are not getting even 20 litres of water supply per head per day. Baner- Balewadi, Wagholi, Hinjawadi, Bavdhan, Pashan, Pimpri Chinchwad, Wakad, Mudhwa and many regions of Pune district are facing severe water crunch, and the urban areas are now under the strong grip of private water tanker mafia. As per one estimate the housing societies in Pune district are spending over 300 to 400 crores per month to purchase daily need water from private water tanker operators. Does this figure provide the reason behind the artificial water scarcity in Pune district? People are forced to spend money for water in urban areas of Pune district.
STOP GIVING PERMISSIONS FOR NEW CONSTRUCTIONS
Speaking on behalf of the petitioners, adv Satya muley said, “water is a basic necessity of life, and the current state of water supply situation in urban areas of entire Pune district is pathetic. The PMC, PCMCPMRDA and the Pune Zilla parishad should stop giving permissions for new constructions if they are not able to provide water to the existing residents of Pune district. When a problem is existing and known, then in such a case these authorities do not have right to make the problem bigger. Before giving any fresh permission to any new construction, these authorities must attack and solve the water Scarcity problem on war footing. People are losing their patience if the special committee does not start functioning in next couple of weeks, a contempt petition to prosecute all the authorities shall be filed at Bombay high court. Supply of fresh potable water is a constitutional responsibility of all the local bodies under article 243w of the constitution of India and under the s 63 (20) of Maharashtra municipal corporations act. Article 21 of the constitution of India guarantees right to life, and water means life!”
Heavy dependence on ground water
Pune’s heavy dependence on groundwater proves particularly problematic during Maharashtra’s recurrent seasonal droughts. Groundwater serves as a lifeline for lakhs of citizens during these dry spells. However, local authorities have failed to incorporate this essential basic necessity into their planning frameworks, leading to groundwater depletion and the drying up of most wells and borewells post-monsoon.
The ministry of Jal shakti’s guidelines for urban water conservation outlines measures for cities to:
- increase rainwater harvesting
- reuse treated grey water and sewage water
- Rejuvenate urban water bodies, including step wells, ponds, and lakes.
Regrettably, the only noticeable activity is the rampant construction of new buildings, further increasing the Pune district’s population which will create severe water scarcity. The petitioners hope that the high court directed committees be constituted without delay and that they undertake public hearings where citizens can voice their grievances related to water scarcity. The petitioners expect that the committees take requisite steps to ensure that the citizens are provisioned and supplied their rightful water quota.
“we don’t get corporation supply and our dependence is on private water tankers. We don’t understand how building permissions are given without making basic water supply available”, said Tushar Sarode, resident of sus.
“since 2013 our residential buildings do not get a single drop of water from gram panchayat, zilla parishad or PMRDA. We spend lakhs every month to buy private water tankers, till today green olive apartments must have paid crores to local tanker suppliers. What is shocking is that nobody is bothered in the entire government to solve our problems in spite of more than 10 follow up to each authority every year”, added Amrut Khodke, chairman of green olive apartment Hinjawadi.
The petitioners who issued the legal notice and were the original petitioners in the PIL: wagholi housing societies association, Pune district co-operative housing societies and apartments federation, Akhil Bharatiya Grahak panchayat, Pimpri Chinchwad co-operative housing welfare societies federation ltd., Baner – Pashan link road welfare trust, Balewadi residency co-operative housing welfare federation ltd., dear society welfare association, Bavdhan citizens forum, Hinjawadi employees and residents trust, Aundh Vikas Mandal, and association of Nagar road citizens forum noting the outcry in the residents of all urban areas of Pune district due to water scarcity had filed the water PIL at Bombay high court through Satya muley – advocate the supreme court of India and the Bombay high court.
The following parties were made respondents in the water PIL: 1) union of India, department of water resources 2) central ground water board 3) state of Maharashtra – water resources department 4) Maharashtra Jeevan Pradhikaran 5) Maharashtra water resources regulatory authority 6) Pune municipal corporation 7) Pimpri Chinchwad municipal corporation 8) Pune metropolitan region development authority 9) Zila parishad Pune PIL 126/2022 Satya muley advocate the supreme court & the Bombay high court
Neerain is proud to republish this blog for spreading awareness about situation of water, for our stake holders. Credit whatsoever goes to the Author.
This blog is published by: –
Published on: 23rd November 2023