NAGPUR: It seems Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) is giving in to the immense pressure from builders and developers. The water works department has proposed to relax norms that make occupancy certificate mandatory before a water connection is sanctioned.
Mayor Pravin Datke has convened a meeting of Nagpur Environmental Services Limited (NESL) board of directors on Saturday. Total 12 proposals related to water works department will come up for discussion in the meeting. One of the proposals is to ensure occupancy certificate is no longer mandatory for getting water connection.
The water works department has tabled the proposal, "To discuss the matters arising due to the occupancy certificate required for granting new water connection particularly for flat schemes."
NMC sources told TOI builders and developers were pressing to abolish the norm since its implementation in November 2013. "The then municipal commissioner Shyam Wardhane had come up with the norm, according to provisions in the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning (MRTP) Act. Over 90% buildings in the city had no occupancy certificate. Most builders and developers do not follow mandatory norms to get occupancy certificate before giving possession of the flats. NMC gives connection for water supply and sewage disposal. Therefore, the norm was introduced stop giving water and sewage connections until the occupancy certificate is obtained," sources said.
Since then, the water works department started to deny water connection to individual houses and flats lacking occupancy certificate. The norm put builders and developers in a tight position as most of the buildings violate one or the other rules, and also the sanctioned building plans.
It will be interesting to see the NESL board's decision on the water works department proposal. It may not be wrong to say that unauthorized constructions will be encouraged in case the norm is dumped on Friday.
Another major proposal to come up for discussion in the meeting is related to supply of water to villages situated within five kilometres of the city's boundary. NMC had assured to supply potable water to all these villages for getting additional raw water supply from the state government. However, the civic body has not started water supply to these villages for the last five-six years.
Guardian minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule had directed NMC to start supplying treated water to the villages after commissioning of new Pench-IV water treatment plant at Godhni. With BJP in power at NMC, the chances of accepting Bawankule's demand cannot be ruled out. Bawankule is also MLA from Kamptee constituency and water supply to villages is likely to benefit his political career.
Strangely, the water works department has proposed to spend Rs 3.20 crore from NMC's kitty on replacement of old water network for solving water contamination problems. NMC is not supposed to spend anything on infrastructure in water works, excluding JNNURM funds, since it has handed over the water network to private water operator Orange City Water Private Limited (OCW). In the proposal, the department has sought allocation of Rs 5 crore for the works.