In relief for 5,000-odd residents of the NIBM-Kondhwa area, the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (SCDRC) on Monday instructed developers of the posh Bramha Emerald County Co-operative Housing Society to continue supplying water to those staying there, while giving Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) leeway in building required infrastructure to begin supplying water itself.
In this major development, the SCDRC stayed the order of the district consumer court, which had asked PMC in the beginning of 2015 to build infrastructure for adequate water supply before January 31, 2016 -in doing so, SCDRC granted PMC’s appeal against the “impossible“ deadline, which was reported by Mirror in the article `Dist forum frees Bramha of water logjam, tightens its grip on PMC’, on February 12, 2015.
The commission has now handed the responsibility of supplying water to residents back in the hands of the developer, who had originally -while taking building permission in 2012 -submitted a written undertaking to PMC, saying the company would supply water to residents at its own cost till PMC could do so.Pune Mirror had reported the matter in the cover page story `Bramha loses fight, must pay for water’, on July 29, 2013.
The district court last year noted that this practice of the civic body taking such undertakings is erroneous.
During the hearing, PMC excused itself from the deadline citing difficulties in building such infrastructure so soon, coupled with hurdles caused by surrounding defence land, which required extra permission to build infrastructure on. It also asked for three more years to complete such a task.
As the state commission asked the developer to continue supplying water to residents as per the building permission affidavit, the builder will have to pay the cost of water supply till PMC can arrange for infrastructure, and till the next order from the commission.
Society residents had also filed an appeal before the commission earlier this year, requesting that directions be issued to Bramha Corp to continue supplying water to them as per the aforementioned affidavit -this, too, was granted by the commission.
In its order dated January 31, 2015, the Pune district consumer court had issued a deadline of a year to PMC to finish putting water supply infrastructure in place for the society. In the latest hearing, the advocate representing PMC submitted that it was impossible to meet this deadline, since the civic body is yet to receive permission from the defence ministry, putting work on hold. PMC prayed for a stay on the consumer court’s deadline approaching next month.
Bramha Emerald County Society lawyer, M P Bendre, emphasised that the builder had already put forward the hamipatra (affidavit) saying the company would supply water at its own cost till PMC water supply was resolved. Bendre getting defence ministry permission also prayed in the appeal that till PMC supplies required quantities of water as per development control (DC) rules, the builder must do so in the interim.
The bench admitted both appeals and passed an interim order for a stay on the district court’s order. The state com mission passed an order instructing the builder to supply the water as was previ ously taking place until further notice.
The next hearing in the matter is on Feb ruary 12, 2016.
Habib Patel, chairman of Bramha Emerald, told Mirror, “We are delighted to receive this order in our favour. It is sure to be challenged by the builder and we will once again have to fight a long battle to safeguard our interests.“
Advocate Sachin Harsule, who repre sented Bramha Corp in the matter, said, “We have still not received any order.
But, we will place our side of things be fore the commission, submitting that ac cording to the Bombay Provincial Mu nicipal Corporations Act (BPMC) of 1949, it is mandatory for municipal cor porations to supply water to citizens not builders. We will also inform the court that PMC has been collecting water tax from the residents, so it should be bearing the cost of water supply. If their infrastructure is not in place, we will be happy to lend them our water tankers.“
`UNFAIR PRACTICE’ CONTINUES
PMC’s water supply department head, V GKulkarni, said, “We are happy that the commission has taken notice of the diffi culties being faced by PMC while laying pipelines in that hilly area, coupled with issues in getting permission related to de fence land. However, we will try and pro vide supply as soon as possible.“
Asked whether PMC still accepts such undertakings from developers, he said, “Yes, but this is between the building permission department and the developers.“
Source : TOI