Residents of Shanti Sagar police cooperative society in Ghatkopar’s Ramabai Colony are furious. After shelling out maintenance costs and charges for water connections, the residents, all police constables, are not receiving water.
Reason? There’s no BMC water pipeline laid out for their society, comprising some 15 buildings over a six-and-a-half acre plot.
The residents are now taking on retired DCP, S R Kapse, who initiated the building project in 1995.
After a protest rally on Sunday, in which the constables’ families participated, the men have written to Home Minister R R Patil and DGP P S Pasricha.
“We paid for all the promised facilities. Despite requesting for regular water supply, nothing has been done,” says Deepak Patade, a constable and resident. What’s the problem?
The project was initiated by Kapse to accommodate 600 police constables and their families. “I wanted the constables to live in premises that they owned. How else could they get houses at just Rs 750 per sq ft, and access to car parks and gardens?” Kapse asks.
But the project went awry, say residents. “We were promised possession of our flats in 1996, but got them only in 2004. And none of the promised facilities exist. Some car parks are walled in and sold as house units.
The BMC water pipeline, which runs under the entire plot, never reached our building,” alleges Rajesh Sontakke, a traffic constable. He adds, “For the past two years, there’s no water in our homes. Our women fill buckets from a tiny BMC pipeline, standing in line like slum dwellers.” Kapse’s defence
“The residents are overreacting,” says Kapse. “Their understanding of the real issues is limited. I have to make regular trips to MHADA, BMC and even the Mantralaya to get the necessary permissions.”
He maintains that the building is not facing any water crisis now. “They are receiving water every day,” he claims. He does, however, concede that the adjoining slum has 24-hour water supply: “They may have diverted a line from the main connection.” Illegally get water
The transit camp adjoining Shanti Sagar gets water from the BMC every alternate day for a few hours. The rest of the days, a tanker supplies water. “We take water from the BMC outlet, though we are not authorised to do so. But the tanker water is filthy,” alleges Patade.
Additionally, none of the residents have documents to prove ownership of their houses. “MHADA authorities have told us that we are not listed as owners of these flats. So this means we are living here illegally, despite paying for the flats,” Patade adds. Residents woes
• The rooms were promised at Rs 650 per sq ft. At the time of possession, they were charged Rs 950 per sq ft. “Rise in construction costs,” explains Kapse.
• An Airtel mobile tower is coming up on one of the buildings. The structure is not strong enough to support the tower. Residents’ consent was not solicited.
• No receipts have ever been issued against payments taken for water connections, maintenance, general repairs, etc.
• Residents now have to pay Rs 1.86 crores for the project to be completed. They refuse to do so.