The genie is out of the bottle. After MiD DAY’s report on November 9 (‘Corporators don’t trust BMC water’) on members of the civic body shying away from consuming the same tap water that Mumbaikars have to make do with and choosing packaged water instead, councillors representing two political parties — Congress and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) — have decided to drink out of the same ‘well’ as the rest of us.
The corporation began serving bottled water at the standing committee meetings in mid-September. The new trend has not only attracted attention of BMC members, but also NGOs. It has been reported that the change came following a demand made by a Samajwadi Party corporator. The transformation has also been attributed to thousands of Mumbaikars regularly receiving murky BMC water in recent days.
Yesterday, the issue was raised by Congress councillor Praveen Chheda during a meeting. “Corporators should drink BMC tap water as having bottled water sends out a wrong message to taxpayers,” he said. Speaking to MiD DAY, Chheda said he will drink tap water, even if packaged water is kept on his desk. “If I need water, I will ask for a glass of BMC tap water,” he maintained.
Rahul Shewale, chairman of standing committee, however, appeared unsure. “We started having bottled water after a few incidents of glasses toppling over on desks and papers getting wet. This does not mean we are sceptical about BMC water,” he told MiD DAY, adding that he will try to come up with a solution soon, like considering filling bottles with tap water.
MNS members were more unequivocal. “I don't know about other corporators, but my party members and I will not drink packaged water in the standing committee meetings,” said Dilip Lande, group leader of MNS.
Meanwhile, Rais Shaikh, Samajwadi Party group leader, who had reportedly demanded the change in the first place, said, “I don’t want packaged water. BMC staff should keep a bottle of tap water on my desk.”