Aarey CEO gheraoed by mob of around 100 locals while they were repairing JVLR pipeline leak, who claimed to have permission to puncture the pipeline for their water needs
The battle between the Aarey Colony authorities and the miscreants who keep puncturing the water pipeline near the Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road intensified yesterday, after a mob of over a hundred locals gheraoed the Aarey CEO as his team was repairing the latest leak.
The authorities also learnt that a few locals were making illegal connections from the pipeline to their homes, and the pipes and other equipment were all confiscated
Ever since mid-day reported on Friday that thousands of litres of water were being spewed by the leaking pipeline, the authorities have made repeated attempts to repair it, but a few crooks keep puncturing the pipe again. Around 10.30 am yesterday, Aarey CEO Gajanan Raut and his team arrived to fix the problem yet again, when they were surrounded by the mob.
Cops and onlookers gather at the leakage site near JVLR, where the mob had gheraoed the Aarey CEO’s team
“It was clear that they intended to intimidate us. The mob was comprised of residents of illegal hutments near Keltipada and Teja ka Pada, behind the Salaskar Garden. They claimed they had the local MLA’s permission to puncture the pipeline,” said Raut.
The pipeline supplies water to the cattle sheds and Aarey dairy quarters, but many locals had made illegal water connections to their houses, said Raut, adding, “The situation was further aggravated when we discovered two more leaks, caused by locals who wanted to take illegal water connections to their homes. We confiscated their equipment, including the pipes meant for the illegal connections and also filed a complaint against them at the police station. No one has the right to disrupt a government water supply line.”
Raut added that his team managed to plug the major leak, which was responsible for gallons of water being wasted and was spewing out a water jet, as high as 20 feet. mid-day had earlier observed that the area had numerous empty liquor bottles thrown around.
“There are over 600 buffalos and over 40 families residing in the Aarey quarters in unit 18. We have been facing this water problem for the last couple of months. BMC cannot give water connections to those local hutment dwellers, as their settlements are not authorised. There are a few who resort to such goondaism to take illegal connections by puncturing our pipeline, claiming they have political support. Only strict government action can resolve the issue,” complained Farukh Munshi, a resident of the dairy quarters.
On the other hand, when mid-day got in touch with the local MLA, Ravindra Waikar (Jogeshwari East), he denied giving any such permission and said he wasn’t even aware of the issue. “If such a thing has happened, it should be exposed. I have not received any complaint, nor was I aware that a government pipeline had been puncture by mischief-makers. Furthermore, if there is any issue between the locals and Aarey officials, let them come to my office and I will sort out the matter.”