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If polls are here, can water be far behind? Maharashtra govt to supply potable water to all unauthorised slums

Wednesday, 5 February 2014 - 8:08am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

Ahead of the Lok Sabha and the state elections, the state government has decided to supply potable water to post-1995 unauthorised slum-dwellers across the city.

There are 13 lakh slum households, according to the 2001 Census, and 50 lakh slum-dwellers.  

Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan convened a meeting of Mumbai’s MPs and MLAs on Tuesday. “Chief minister Chavan has assured to resolve the drinking water supply problem of slum-dwellers.

Almost 20% slum-dwellers are not receiving drinking water supply because these slums are unauthorised. These slum-dwellers have to depend on local water mafias and illegal water connection to get drinking water,” Congress MLA Amin Patel from South Mumbai said. “This frequently leads to skirmishes and complaints in local areas. The CM has said he will ensure post-1995 slum-dwellers get drinking water supply.” Water theft is reported mainly from Chembur, Malad, Govandi, and Kurla.

The BMC too wrote a letter to the state government in August 2013 asking it to okay water connections to post-1995 slum-dwellers. The BMC pointed out that water theft has increased in slum areas, leading to law and order problems because of unavailability of legal water connection. “If connection is given to these slum-dwellers, it will fetch more revenue for the corporation,” the BMC said in the letter.

Apart from the drinking water issue, the chief minister has decided to end the deemed conveyance problem, another Congress MLA from the suburbs said. “There are many housing societies where developers are still to give deemed conveyance certificates despite projects being completed. Occupants are owners of flats; but not of the entire layout/plot where the building has been raised. As per the state government’s deemed conveyance programme, housing societies will have to apply to the state property registration department. And within a stipulated time, government officials would process and award the deemed conveyance certificates to housing socities,” he said.

Most of the housing society redevelopment has been stuck for the past several years because of the absence of deemed conveyance certificates. “Developers deliberately don’t give deemed conveyance certificates so that they can reap the benefits of additional floor space index during redevelopment. Now, the state government move will make residents owners of plots as well,” Patel said.

Face-saving exercise?
Political observers said this exercise is to woo voters before the Lok Sabha and the state elections. The Congress support base has dramatically eroded. And it is going to be one of the toughest election battles for the Congress, said an observer. “Therefore, the chief minister who is famous for sitting on files has suddenly woken up and decided to expedite work.”

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