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Firm must pay BMC Rs 6.5 lakh fine for damaging pipelines while trenching

Not just what happens on the surface, even violations that occur underground cannot escape Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s scrutiny. That certainly appears to be the message the civic body is trying to send out, with its K-West (Andheri) ward office imposing a fine of Rs 6.5 lakh on Reliance Jio Infocomm for impairing public utilities during some trenching operations.

Finally the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation got serious about the trenching issue in the city, where earlier the civic body has a minimal control over what is happening underground, the ‘K’ west ward office (Andheri) has imposed a fine ofRs 6.5 lakh to a private company for disturbing BMC utilities.

Fine line
Where the civic administration is yet to give permission for 4G in the city, the ward office has authorised laying of optical fibre cables. However, BMC is of the opinion that such damages during trenching work have been caused twice earlier, and hence it was appropriate to levy a penaltay. Then again, sources say such incidents repeat themselves also because while BMC doesn’t have any geological mapping facilities, permissions are provided for trenching activities.

In a standing committee meeting held on Wednesday, BMC house leader Yashodhar Phanse pointed out that Andheri has not received water for two days, as the pipeline was damaged. The administration too admitted that this had happened due to the trenching work.

Along with the water pipeline, the sewer system had also been disturbed. Following this, standing committee chairman Rahul Shewale has ordered the water department to take strict action against any company causing such problems, as citizens are at the receiving end.

Recurring problem
“This is the third time that such a setback has occurred, where public utilities have been hit because of digging work by Reliance. We have imposed a fine of Rs 6.5 lakh on them for disturbing BMC’s sewer and water pipelines,” said Vishwas Shankarwar, assistant municipal commissioner, K-West ward.

When contacted, Reliance spokesperson Tushar Pania said, “We will get back to you on Friday, as we don’t have the details right now.”  

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