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Correct ‘water affidavit’ mistake

DNPUN17046 | 7/24/2009 | Author : Abhay Vaidya | WC :393 | City-Pune

A sense of anger and deceit is unmistakable among citizens in the eastern fringes of Pune where many housing societies are chronically dependent on water tankers.
Since 2001, a large number of new housing societies have come up in these areas and have naively provided a flourishing business to the water tanker mafia in the city.
While the PMC and land developers benefited by way of development charges, taxes and profits from the new constructions, housing societies have been forced to fend for themselves on the water supply front.
As revealed by DNA on Thursday (PMC robs citizens and rewards tanker mafia), many citizens who purchased flats in these areas were ignorant of the “water affidavits” secured by the PMC from builders of housing projects.
The affidavits represent an understanding between the PMC and the builders that both are aware of the acute water scarcity in the area and that providing water to these housing societies will not be a responsibility of the PMC.
The affidavits specify that it is the builder who will provide water “by borewells or water tankers” and will under no circumstances complain to the PMC about water scarcity.
Land developers have also sworn in their affidavits that they will provide a copy of the document to flat buyers.
The element of deceit is apparent because the PMC never informed the public about these water affidavits and many flat owners also did not get a copy of the document as promised by their builders to the PMC.
The water affidavits also raise legal issues.
Can a municipal corporation indiscriminately give building permissions while abdicating its core responsibility of providing water? Also, why was this policy not made public and opened to a debate? Since the PMC admitted that it was unable to supply water to the fringe areas, what is the basis for collecting water and other development taxes from citizens in these areas?
Barely a week ago, DNA in its previous series on Pune’s water crisis highlighted how the PMC and most builders have neglected the rainwater harvesting policy which was made mandatory for new constructions in the 23 fringe villages since 2003 and for the entire PMC since 2007. Had this policy been implemented in its true spirit, citizens would have got much relief. The PMC must now take firm steps to make amends on the issue.

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