Water supply to tribal hamlet stopped in Maharashtra; five booked

THANE: Drinking water supply to a tribal-dominated hamlet in Thane district was stopped allegedly by the local village committee over non-payment of cess, leading the police to file an FIR under the SC/ST Act against five persons and order a probe, an official said on Wednesday.

The rural police registered the FIR against five members of the village managing committee, four of them women, for allegedly stopping drinking water supply to Katkari, a tribal-dominated hamlet in Bhiwandi taluka of the district in Maharashtra, on a complaint of its residents, police said.

Additional Superintendent of Police Smita Patil said the case under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, was registered at the Padgha police station on Tuesday.

No one has been arrested so far and a probe into the incident has been ordered under Deputy Superintendent of Police (Ganeshpuri) Dileep Godbole, the police said.

Godbole said the village committee, which manages affairs of local areas, had been collecting water cess of Rs 100 per month from each family of Katkari for years.

Recently, the committee increased the water cess to Rs 500 which was opposed by the residents of Katkari, who expressed their inability to pay the hiked charges, according to the FIR.

This promoted the village committee to disconnect water supply to the hamlet late last week, the police said.

The residents of Katkari did not get water for two days (February 7 and 8) after which they filed the complaint against village committee members, the police said.