Mumbai: Water leak, but no repairs, because it's Make In India week!

Hundreds of litres of water is leaking from the pipelines at Santacruz, but the BMC is not repairing them due to the Make in India week in the vicinity

Many government agencies are busy with Make in India. But who cares if in the same city that is hosting the Prime Minister’s pet event, hundreds of litres of water goes down the drain everyday? Sadly, this seems to be the attitude of the authorities, who are turning a blind eye to more than 10 leakages in water supply pipelines in Santacruz alone, and have not attended to them for over a week, and in some cases 15 days. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) does not want to show dug-up roads during the ongoing Make in India week. This has caused hundreds of litres of water to go waste every morning at Santacruz, leading to puddles on the roads.

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Cromton Texeira a local resident shows a spot where the leaked water collects every day.
Cromton Texeira a local resident shows a spot where the leaked water collects every day.

The city is hosting the Make in India week event at BKC, which has seen participation from 30 countries. Several international delegates, as well as businessmen are in town for it, and the BMC had gone into overdrive to prepare the city for it. But because of it, areas such as Santacruz, which has the airport and therefore VIP movement, have suffered. There have been leakages in several big and small water supply pipelines of the area for about 15 days now causing flooding on the roadsides. Civic officials told mid-day that the work was avoided in order to prevent digging roads during the Make in India week.

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Water waste
Texeira points out that the water floods various areas and this is dangerous for pedestrians and motorists. Pics/Pradeep Dhivar

How it works
The BMC has a network of water supply pipelines across the city that branch out into several smaller ones before reaching homes. Although the pipelines are several feet underground, if there is a leakage, the water can even puncture holes in the road and stream out. Leakages lead to the loss of precious water and also lead to low pressure in nearby areas. Once detected, they have to be fixed either by replacing a portion of the pipeline or other methods. Ideally, it takes about four days to fix leakages.

Santacruz in a fix
The case of Santacruz is representative of what must be happening in other parts of the city as well. Local resident Cromton Texeira, (70), claims to have found 12-14 leakages in the Vakola, Kalina, Santacruz areas. He informed civic officials who he claims gave him verbal assurances. Then engineers came and inspected the sites, nothing was done.

"There are some spots where the pipeline has been leaking for as many as 15 days. Every morning, the water flows out on the roads. This is hundreds of litres of precious drinking water that is being wasted. Besides, it is dangerous for pedestrians and motorists. When I pointed this to the chief engineer (hydraulics) Tawadiya, he assured me that action will be taken. But the local assistant engineer told me that major repairs can’t be undertaken now as the Make in India week is going on. Just because they don’t want to show dug-up roads to VIPs, will they allow water to be wasted?" Texeira asked.

Officialspeak
Milind Bhagwat, assistant engineer, water works (H/East ward) said, "Yes, we cannot undertake major repair works since the Make in India week is going on. Although there are no such written orders, we have been asked to avoid it. Even the traffic police refuses to give permission in such cases. But I am unaware of any such complaint from Texeira. I will have to inspect the spots first."

However, A S Tawadiya, chief engineer (hydraulics) of the BMC differed. He said, "It is not true that we are not undertaking repairs due to Make in India week. All routine work is going on as usual. However, it is possible that our men went to seek permission from the traffic police and were not given it. I will look into the matter."

Voices
Raju Darbere, resident of Kalina
Every morning there is a pool of water here near the bus stop. The other day two bikers slipped and fell. This is getting dangerous.

Paul D'Souza, resident of Kalina
There has been flooding at this spot for about a week.

Brijesh Shukla, Shop owner at Vakola Market
This problem has been there for more than a month. Every morning, a 5-10 mts patch of the road gets filled with water. It causes problems for motorists. The BMC is not doing anything about it.

Usman Gani Sumra, Another resident
We go to the KES School ground to play football. Water stays accumulated on the roadside there. People have difficulty in walking there.

Some of the affected spots
1 Vakola marble market
2 Near KES School, Sundar nagar
3 Kalina market
4 St Anthony Road, Vakola
5 Near St Charles school, Vakola
6 Near Canara bank, Vakola
7 Opp Banquet Plaza, Kalina masjid
8 St Mary’s chowk
9 Near Poddar school, Kalina

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