Mumbai: Locals refuse to accept MMRC's 'seasonal changes' claim, seek probe

Updated: Apr 10, 2019, 12:08 IST | Arita Sarkar

In response to concerns of residents of Karim Manzil, Singapuri and Sukhadwala buildings, MMRC had denied connection between construction of Metro III tunnel and falling water levels

Mumbai: Locals refuse to accept MMRC's 'seasonal changes' claim, seek probe
Residents of the buildings on JSS road in front of the well at Karim Manzil. File pic

As the water level of the wells situated on the premises of three buildings on the Jagannath Shankar Sheth road (JSS) goes down further, with one of them completely drying up, members of Mumbai's Parsi community continue to slug it out with the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC). Rejecting the latter's claims that "seasonal fluctuations" were affecting the water level, the residents of the buildings have written back to MMRC demanding a thorough investigation to find out the cause behind the depletion.

No connection at all

In their response to the concerns raised by the residents of Karim Manzil, Singapuri and Sukhadwala buildings, the MMRC had denied any connection between construction of the Metro III tunnel underneath the JSS road and the steadily dropping water levels of the wells. It had also claimed that the data related to the water level collected before, during and after the tunneling work shows a consistent trend.

Unable to accept MMRC's findings, the residents have demanded that the authorities concerned should take measures to rectify the problem. In their letter, they have mentioned that small cracks might have developed due to the tunneling work, which the MMRC overlooked. They also pointed out that the MMRC should have started recording readings of the water level from December 2015 instead of December 2017, when the work on the down tunnel started.

Speaking to mid-day, Homa Pouredehi, a resident of Sukhadwala building said that the MMRC was trying to shirk their responsibility. "The water level in all the wells started dropping right after the tunneling and digging work. This cannot be a coincidence and definitely cannot be termed as 'seasonal fluctuation'. MMRC is not concerned about the environment and hardly bothered about preserving groundwater," she added. She also said that as the MMRC has the best geologists and experts working for them, they should investigate and find out where the problem lies.

Betty Yih, a resident of Singapuri building, where the well has completely dried up, said that her family was forced to cut down on the use of water. "Earlier, after switching on the pump, within 10-15 minutes the well would fill up to a certain level. But now there is no water at all. We are completely dependent on whatever is supplied by the BMC. If the civic body further cuts down the supply in the coming months, then the situation will get worse," she added.

Leak proof. Really?

Referring to MMRC's claim that the tunnel was totally leak proof, Jamshed Sukhadwala, chief petitioner in the case involving the tunnel constructed underneath the Atash Behrams, said, "MMRC claims that the tunnel has been made from fresh Basalt Rock. But one must ask them how strong the rock is. There might be small cracks leading to steady depletion of groundwater." He also questioned the competence, sincerity and integrity of the MMRC officials who are recording the readings of the water levels of the wells at the Wadiaji Atash Behrams.

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