Life in Chinchwad city is a picture of stark contrasts. Those living in parts of the township that are over two decades old, don’t seem to be reliant on water tankers.
But that’s not the case with their fellow residents in the newer neighbourhoods of Wakad, Pimple Saudagar and Hinjewadi.
During peak summers, housing societies in these parts find water about 300 feet below ground — over five times below normal levels that have been prescribed by water management experts. Last year, the sitting MLA of
Chinchwad had announced that permissions for fresh construction would be denied until the water shortage crisis was resolved. “I have asked the PCMC not to hand out building permits in newer areas until the water issue is sorted,” Jagtap had said. But given that development premium is a major source of cash for the corporation, the announcement didn’t turn into action on the ground.
Chinchwad city has grown in a circle with areas of Wakad, Hinjewadi, Punawale, Pimple Saudagar and Pimple Gurav (all of them short on water) encircling older parts.
The city corporation said it has permission to lift 440 million litres of water per day for its 22 lakh residents from the downstream of Pawana river — a per capita outlay of 200 litres (much higher than the corporation’s daily target of 135 litres per person). But this number has mostly been on paper. Come summer, residents of the several housing societies here are forced to run pillar to post for supply from water tanker agencies.
“For us, it is still a wonder that these agencies have not run out of water for their tankers. They fill up from a tank nearby. It’s almost as if we’re the only ones without a source or supply,” said Chintan Shah, a resident of Wakad.
Many said the local governments had allowed construction without accounting for basic amenities, such as water and drainage lines.
“In our housing society, we don’t have a functioning drainage line. But the corporation went ahead and gave a completion certificate, only for us to later find out that we didn’t have a drainage or stormwater line,” said Vijay Kshirsagar, a resident of a housing society in Pimple Saudagar.
And where projects are completed, newcomers to the city are being greeted by an increasingly insular gated community mentality.
“There are so many societies that don’t let out to bachelors. We are not able to guarantee a home to bachelors, even if they pay us twice the brokerage. There are not enough houses available for them,” said Geeta Parsi, a real estate broker in the area.
Also, wide roads in the newer areas were a big positive about three years ago, but not any more. Recently laid roads are being dug up again for proposed flyovers or underpasses. The pace of these roadworks have been glacial. “Commuters have been facing major problems for the past six months. There has hardly been any progress on this stretch,” said a traffic cops stationed near the under-construction Jagtap Dairy flyover.
In the older areas of the city, even if water is not much of a problem, residents continue to battle deteriorating infrastructure and a garbage disposal problem that has impacted several localities.
“What Chinchwad needs is a plan. For that, the city administration needs to think longterm — not the next six months or five years,” said Ayush Ranjan, a resident of Wakad.