More than a year after the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) came up with a project to protect the water mains and the adjoining municipal land from encroachments, barely 7 per cent of the total work has been completed. Of the total encroached area of 1.42 lakh square metres adjacent to water pipelines, reservoirs and pumping stations identified by the hydraulic engineering department, only 10,000 square metres of such land has been cleared until now. The reason for the delay in the Rs.81-crore project is that over 70 per cent of the slums along pipelines have been built before 1995 and the civic body needs to provide alternative housing for them before demolishing the hutments.
The proposal was passed with a view to prevent damage to pipelines that happen through frequent thefts and pilferage by those residing in the encroached areas. Nearly 20 per cent of the total water supplied to the city is lost owing to thefts and leakages.
The civic body had in May 2009 passed a proposal for protection of pipelines, reservoirs and pumping stations and the adjoining land owned by the hydraulic engineering department by constructing compound walls, fencing and developing gardens on the land.. The proposal also included surveillance of pipelines by security guards. The contract was awarded to Krystal security firm for carrying out surveillance for a period of two years. However, after spending of Rs 13.85 crore the total allocated budget is Rs 81 crore only seven percent of the work has been completed.