The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has imposed a fine on a telecom company for damaging its water pipelines in various areas of the city. The civic body has charged Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited a penalty of R39.13 lakh after ducting work it carried out affected pipelines in Dadar, Chembur, Mulund, Andheri, Goregaon and other areas.
Leaking: A burst pipeline on Gokhale Road, Dadar (West) as a result of the ducting work carried out by the firm. Pic/Shadab Khan
Authorities say the damage caused leakage of water and resulted in shortage as a result. They have collected only Rs 1.59 lakh of the total amount. With most of BMC’s officials busy with election duty, the Hydraulic department is hard pressed for men to repair the damaged pipes.
The company had made trenches in several stretches of the city, in order to lay the cables for their upcoming 4G network in the city. This, however, adversely affected water supply (see box). Meanwhile, the onus to repair these pipes will be on contractors, since 105 of the 300 engineers from the Hydraulic department are on election duty. With circulars being sent on water cuts, workers are hard pressed for time.
BMC’s hydraulic engineer Ramesh Bambale said, “We are facing problems keeping up with routine work as most of the workers and the engineers are on election duty. We have roped in contractors, whom we appoint to do our work on a yearly basis, to also fix the leaks, so that water supply is not affected at large. We have fined them, as the ducting work has resulted in the leakage and damage to pipelines.”
Speaking to mid-day, a spokesperson from the company said, “BMC is a valued partner. Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited has already paid R27.88 lakh to the BMC. The remaining amount will be paid in a few days’ time. We are working closely with municipal authorities.”
He added that there was a possibility that civic body officials might have not updated their details from various ward offices, about the fines collected. Hence, the amount showing was lesser than what they had paid.