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Water Supply To Infra Projects, Hotels And Clubs In Mumbai Hit Due To Strike By Water Tankers, Claim Protesters

The directives are being implemented by collectors of Mumbai and Mumbai (suburban) districts and the state water supply and sanitation department. Police are authorised to file FIRs against tanker owners not following the guidelines.

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People wait to collect drinking water from a water tanker as the city faces shortage of drinking water in Delhi.
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The ongoing indefinite strike by water tankers in Mumbai in protest against the implementation of Central guidelines for bulk water supply has affected water supply for major infrastructure projects, hotels, malls and clubs, an association member claimed on Tuesday. 

Ankur Sharma, the spokesperson for Mumbai Water Tankers Association (MWTA), told PTI that Mumbai (suburban) guardian minister Mangalprabhat Lodha has convened a meeting later in the day to resolve the sand-off which will be attended by officials of the Mumbai civic body and the Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA).

Sharma said 2,500 tankers that supply potable and non-potable water across Mumbai have been on strike since February 8 and it's a do-or-die situation for them. He said tanker operators will not call off the protest without a written assurance. 

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"We don't have any demands. We were forced to shut down our businesses due to the implementation of CGWA measures, and (action by) Mumbai Police and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation," Sharma said.

He said the implementation of guidelines issued by the CGWA, responsible to regulate and control the development and management of groundwater resources in the country, is not feasible.       

The directives are being implemented by collectors of Mumbai and Mumbai (suburban) districts and the state water supply and sanitation department. Police are authorised to file FIRs against tanker owners not following the guidelines.

"Tanker owners are being slapped with notices for the last few months by various departments of the BMC. Earlier this month, the BMC wrote to the Mumbai police commissioner asking to file FIRs against tanker operators violating the guidelines," Sharma said. 

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He said tanker operators are ready to apply for the license and pay revenue as mandated by CGWA, but they can't fulfil other guidelines which state that private tanker owners must have a land parcel of 2,000 sqft for drawing underground water. The guidelines also say that tanker owners and suppliers will have to pay Rs 6,50,000 to the local administration as a security deposit and that not more than five tankers can draw water from a specific point.

According to MWTA, nearly 2,500 tankers supply water in Mumbai and 550 families of tanker owners are dependent on this business, apart from the staff employed by them. 

"We have been in this business for more than 60 years and supply potable and non-potable water to major infrastructure projects, railways, hotels, malls, clubs, eateries, and housing societies," Sharma said. He said tanker operators charge Rs 800 per 10,000 litres of water, but it is not possible to follow CGWA guidelines as their implementation is not feasible.

"If we start following the guidelines, projects in Mumbai will get affected. A case in point is BMC'S mega coastal road project which needs 700 water tankers per day while the Railways need 300 tankers," Sharma added. He claimed the water supply of all mega infrastructure projects, hospitals, schools, gymkhanas, several housing societies, and other establishments have been hit due to the strike.

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