Published On : Mon, Jul 15th, 2013

Robbed citizens go ballistic, reject 24×7 water scheme, the source for OCW to pocket crores

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Nagpur News: The Nagpur citizens, robbed and looted in the name of the “dead” 24×7 water supply scheme, considered “enough is enough,” and went volcanic. The red-faced citizens stalled the work of laying of a new pipeline in their locality — Lalganj, Itwari area – by OCW contractors. The citizens have been flooded with excessive amounts of bills even though they are yet to receive a single drop of water from the new pipeline. The robbing and looting of citizens by dangling 24×7 water scheme is not consigned only to Lalganj, Itwari area, the situation prevails in almost all areas of the Orange City.

According to Aam Aadmi Party, the party organized a meeting at NMC’s Satranjipura Zone office on the which was attended by the area’s Corporators as well as Asst Commissioner Milind Meshram. Hundreds of OCW-harassed consumers were as well as social activists were present. It was decided at this meeting that a Prabhag Sabha (Area Sabha) be held on this issue, with the decision of citizens taken therein would bebinding on both Corporators and officers of NMC.

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The meeting was attended by 134 people, including Corporators Pravin Bhisikar, Shravan Khapekar, Yashashree Nandanwar, former Corporator Jijabai Dhakate, Rahul Kulkarni (GM Network OCW), Onkar Chahande (RM O&M), Mohammed Ayaz (Deputy), Farhat Qureshi (Senior Social Welfare Coordinator) and Jawahar Naik (NESL).

Shri Pravin Bhisikar was elected as the meeting Chairman, after which area citizens put forth their views on the subject. Area Aam Aadmi Party volunteer Lakshman Pote stated that water supply in their area by the NMC was quite adequate for their needs and they did not need the costly 24 by 7 scheme of OCWL forced upon them. He clarified that the locality was mostly a slum area, with the majority of residents earning Rs 2000 or so a month. They were in no position to afford monthly bills of Rs. 500 or more. Residents also expressed the view that since most of them were not at homes for much of the day, they had no use, nor wish a 24 by 7 water supply. Other area residents then expressed their views that the 24 by 7 scheme was forcibly imposed upon them without ever asking them with an intention of extracting the maximum possible money from them to be distributed illegally between OCW, as well as officers and Corporators of NMC. A parallel example was presented by some citizens that MSEB had worked over a number of years to provide electricity connections to the public, only to see SPANCO take over and loot the public by bogus and excessive bills. Similarly, OCW Pvt Ltd also appears all set to rob us blind tomorrow which is the basis of their opposition to their scheme.

Privin Bhisikar tried to delink the issues of installation of a new water pipeline under 24 by 7 by suggesting that installation of a new pipeline was necessary and unrelated to the issues of excessive bills received by people. However area residents clarified that their old main water line was only 15 years old and hence perfectly sound and there was no need to change it. Deliberately bypassing it with a new pipeline installed by OWCL was in fact a conspiracy to force people to take new water connections under the 24 by 7 scheme.

The meeting ended by passing a unanimous resolution rejecting the 24 by 7 scheme in their area and demanding that water supply be continued through their old pipeline at the old rates by NMC. After the meeting was adjourned, area citizens agreed to keep watch in their locality to ensure that NMC/OCWL does not attempt to resume pipeline installation on the sly, and especially at night, said Girish Nandgaonkar, District Spokesperson, Aam Aadmi Party.


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Sunita Mudaliar - Executive Editor