Pune: The residents of Baner Balewadi area have alleged that the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has misled the Mumbai High Court (HC) by providing a wrongful status of water being provided to housing societies in this area. The majority of residents claimed that the PMC has not consulted with them on how water will be provided to them.
According to them, PMC's lawyer has informed the court that the PMC has consulted with the members of housing societies and had sent them letters. However, the residents have claimed that they have not received any correspondence from the civic body on this issue. The residents have now decided to highlight this in the next hearing of PIL as the HC is going to continue the hearing of the PIL, even if the ban on constructions has been vacated. The residents from the other areas in the city, who are deprived of water supply by PMC, are now voicing their concerns about this issue.
The Mumbai HC on Wednesday vacated the four-month old ban on constructions in Baner and Balewadi. The ban was imposed by the court as the PMC had failed to provide water to newly constructed buildings in the area. The HC has ordered to constitute a committee to address the water supply woes.
The residents feel that the HC has given a relief to flat owners who were caught in the crossfire by vacating the stay on building permission and occupancy certificate. However, they have warned that the civic body will not be able to wash its hands off their responsibility of providing water, as the citizens have decided to take this issue further.
Sarang Wabale, President of Baner Balewadi Resident Association, said, "We are thankful that the court will be hearing the PIL. We have doubts about the functioning of the committee which will be formed by the PMC, as per the instructions of the court, to oversee the implementation of water supply."
Rajendra Chuttar, President of Baner Pashan Link Road Vikas Samiti said, "We will demand that the citizens should be made a part of this committee. We demand that a representative of Grahak Panchayat, a from Pune District Co-op Societies Federation and two from local Mohalla Committee be part of this committee. We feel otherwise and the very people who have deprived us of water will not give us justice."
Ravindra Sinha, President of Hinjawadi Resident Welfare Association, said, "Societies have been writing to the PMC about the water problem for many years, however, these complaints were ignored and instead, the PMC's lawyer has claimed that letters were sent to societies in these areas to attend meetings on water shortage. The societies have not received any such letters or only a fraction of societies may have."
As observed by the court, relief cannot be given to all via a PIL, hence, the society associations will now file a petition where the societies will be co-petitioners.
"We will seek compensation from the PMC for the entire amount spent on purchasing water tankers. We will seek a complete waiver of property tax. We will seek a stay on new building permissions. This will continue till the PMC provides us compensation and water as per the norms of 150 litres per person per day," said another society representative.
Vijay Sagar of Akhil Bharatiya Grahak Panchayat, said, "Society associations should become a party in the ongoing hearing of PIL. They should expose the PMC for its stand on constructions. This problem is not related to only Baner and Balewadi, as people from 22 localities in and around Pune are facing a similar problem."