Thane guardian minister Ganesh Naik was in Turbhe Stores on Friday evening to give a patient ear to the grievances of the residents. However, while the minister was addressing the attendees, several others were struggling with their household chores as they didn't receive water that evening.
While it is believed that people being coerced to attend meetings held by ministers is a thing of the past, residents of Turbhe Stores allege that cronies of the leader temporarily disconnected their water supply to get them to attend his meeting in the vicinity.
"We receive water in our area for two hours a day starting 6:30pm. On Friday, we did not receive water at all. We tried contacting officials of the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation and they informed us there was a shutdown by MIDC that supplies water in our area. Normally, we are informed prior to a shutdown, but on Friday, that was not the case," said a resident from Turbhe Stores.
The resident went on to accuse local corporators and NCP leaders of using their "influence" over civic officials to cut water supply in the area, so people can come for the guardian minister's function. "It's not the first time this has happened. Every time there is a function of the ruling party in the evening, either water is not supplied or power is switched off so people gather for the event. Local corporators' do this to show their strength before the minister," said another resident.
Another resident said, "People here are poor and are out the whole day at work. We do not have big water storage tanks where we can stock water, therefore we have to be home around 6:30pm when the supply starts. If the officials do not supply water at this time under pressure from someone, we find it very difficult to carry out our daily chores. The civic body started the water supply only on Saturday morning. They did not bother informing us there will be no water supply."
BOX : NCP rubbishes claim
Meanwhile, local NCP leaders have rubbished the claims made by a section of people as "baseless" and claimed that "people have been attending events of their party out of love and not due to any sort of pressure." Standing committee chairman Suresh Kulkarni, said, "There is absolutely no grain of truth in what some people are saying. MIDC has taken a shutdown and as a result there was no water supply. Whenever MIDC has to carry out any work they take a shutdown and the work normally takes place on Friday so there was no water yesterday."
He added, "Over 7,000 people had gathered at the venue to raise various problems faced by them before the guardian minister. I cannot force them to attend the event. People know who is working and who is not and so they had gathered merely out of love for their leaders."