Political parties have made suggestions to the BMC that could well earn them the wrath of the city’s youth, and legions of fans in the state’s drought-ridden countryside. Leaders of the MNS and the BJP have urged the civic agency to curb water wastage on Holi by imposing water cuts in the city.
Sandeep Deshpande, a Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) corporator from Dadar (West) has written to Municipal Commissioner Sitaram Kunte, asking the BMC to impose 25 per cent water cut on March 27, when the city celebrates the festival that is synonymous with water wastage.
The city’s BJP unit has gone a step further, demanding that the civic body impose 50 per cent water cut in the city on Holi and Rangpanchami.
“Every year, lakhs of litres of water are wasted in the name of celebrations; a water cut will really help many families in rural Maharashtra who are struggling because of the drought. The amount of water that the BMC saves by imposing a water cut on Holi should then be supplied to the drought-ridden area,” said Deshpande. He clarified that he does not wish to hurt the sentiments of the common people, but rather wants to alert them about the crisis in the state.
Not to be left behind, Sanjay Upadhyay, general secretary of the city unit of the BJP, has written to the civic chief asking for the cuts on Holi and Rangpanchami, on March 26 and 27 respectively. Many residential housing societies in the western suburbs celebrate Holi with fervour every year, and revelries inevitably involve water wastage, with some societies even organising rain dances.
“While many districts in Maharashtra are facing drought, housing societies in Mumbai are planning to waste huge quantities of water while celebrating Holi. The BMC should impose 50 per cent water cut for two days and there should not be any water supply through tankers,” said Upadhyay.
About 1,300 water tankers in the city supply water to different corners of the city every day, while about 300 tankers with a capacity of 10,000 litre each, supplies extra water on Holi every year. While the BMC is still undecided about the water cuts, the special tankers will not be making an appearance this year. Kunte said, “We will discuss the issue on an administrative level on Monday. But people should also show their awareness about the drought.”
Varsity asks colleges to plan awAreness campaigns
The University of Mumbai has appealed to student council bodies of all colleges under it to undertake awareness campaigns against water wastage. The university authorities have requested the colleges to depute a teacher to help student council members, as well as members of NSS, NCC and cultural committees to undertake awareness campaigns entitled ‘Save Water, Celebrate Dry Holi,’ from the beginning of the week till the celebrations end on Wednesday.
It has been suggested that student council members stage skits or street plays, and plan door-to-door campaigns in housing societies to educate people about the crisis and request them not to use water in their festivities.
The university has also asked college authorities to help students obtain T-shirts for the campaign, and provide them with working lunches and conveyance for the campaign. The money that is collected by colleges for expenditures in sports and cultural activities may be used for the awareness campaign, the officials have suggested. The university has also asked the colleges to send brief reports about the their initiatives to the department of students’ welfare.