The Bombay High Court on Thursday directed the Maharashtra government to ensure that the residents of Kambe village in neighbouring Thane district get water supply through tankers at least before the Ganesh Chaturthi festival, which begins on Friday.
Residents of the village in a plea claimed that they received water only for two hours twice a month, and sought a direction to the state government to facilitate supply on a daily basis.
A division bench of Justices S J Kathawalla and Milind Jadhav had earlier this week noted that it was unfortunate that even after 75 years of independence people have to knock the doors of the court to get water supply, which was a fundamental right.
The petitioners had alleged that STEM Water Distribution and Infra company, a joint venture of the Thane Zilla Parishad and the Bhiwandi Nizampur City Municipal Corporation, was illegally supplying water to local politicians and tanker lobbies.
On Thursday, state Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni, told the court that the state government will find a solution to the problems faced by the petitioners.
The managing director of STEM company and other officials will have a meeting, he said.
The bench, however, said it does not trust the managing director and gave directions for a special committee to be formed for the issues with Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal and additional Commissioner Suresh Kakani on it.
"Keep your MD out. We have no trust in the MD. Appoint our commissioner. We find him responsible." Justice Kathawalla said.
Advocate R D Suryawanshi appearing for the villagers appealed to the court that with a festival round the corner, it was important for the villagers to have water, and hence, at least 10 water tankers must be sent to the village.
The court was informed by Kumbhakoni that water tankers will be arranged and the cost will be borne by STEM company.
The court noted that it was planning to send the orders passed in this matter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to ensure there are no more such villages that don't have water supply.
"We are going to send this order to the Chief Minister, otherwise the name of this State will be tainted. It is a shame that after 75 years there are such petitions, but we will send the order so that the State should not be shamed further," Justice Kathawalla said.
Kumbhakoni assured the court that on September 14 he will inform the court of a plan of action for removing the illegal connections on the main pipeline.
He also informed the Court that the state government plans to build a direct water connection into the village bypassing all the illegal connections.
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