Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - HT NAVI MUMBAI - Tas­neem Kausar ht­for­nav­i­mum­bai@hin­dus­tan­

As the city reels un­der a se­vere wa­ter short­age, City and In­dus­trial De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion (Cidco) has taken ac­tion against the tanker mafia that steals wa­ter from its Hetawane pipe­line.

On Wed­nes­day, con­nec­tions of three tanker con­trac­tors were can­celled in Chirner area as they al­legedly stole wa­ter from il­le­gal con­nec­tions from the pipe­line.

Ac­cord­ing to Shrikant Gosavi, Cidco ex­ec­u­tive en­gi­neer (Hetawane), “Ac­tion has been taken to send a strong mes­sage to all that we will not tol­er­ate such il­le­gal acts. We have re­ports of more con­trac­tors in­dulging in such acts. Ac­tion will be taken against them too.”

“While res­i­dents in Kharghar and Kamothe are fac­ing wa­ter short­age, some peo­ple are ex­ploit­ing the sit­u­a­tion and sell­ing them stolen wa­ter,” said Gosavi.

The wa­ter theft has led to fur­ther short­age of wa­ter sup­ply in the Cidco ju­ris­dic­tion which is al­ready fac­ing wa­ter cuts. “In some cases, some Cidco of­fi­cials are col­lud­ing with the con­trac­tors. They con­vert the half-inch pipe­line con­nec­tion given for drink­ing wa­ter sup­ply to the con­trac­tors to 2-inch ones,” said a so­cial worker, on con­di­tion of anonymity.

Res­i­dents, par­tic­u­larly of Kamothe and Kharghar, have led sev­eral protests against Cidco.

Ramesh Patil, a res­i­dent of Kamothe, said, “There is a lot of wa­ter in Hetawane, yet Cidco has im­ple­mented wa­ter cuts. On the other hand, the Hetawane Dam to Navi Mum­bai pipe­line has bro­ken at sev­eral places lead­ing to huge wastage.”

“In Sai-Kasarb­hat area, direct con­nec­tions have been given from the pipe­line to brick kilns. They get 24-hour wa­ter sup­ply,” said Patil. “Near Dighati, sev­eral peo­ple have taken con­nec­tions from the pipe­line and are grow­ing veg­eta­bles in their fields.”

“Drink­ing wa­ter, which is in short sup­ply, is be­ing used for con­struc­tion work, brick kilns, wash­ing sand and farming,” said Prakash Kha­lat, a res­i­dent of Chirner.

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