Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC) is planning to increase water cess and create four slabs under it according to the rental value of the accommodation where drinking water is being supplied.
According to sources, the elite in the city might have to pay water cess up to Rs. 1,000 every month if the proposal, once mooted, gets the nod of BMC general council.
Sources in the BMC told HT that it had formulated a proposal under which four slabs have been planned under water cess. Apart from the present two slabs, two more categories have been considered.
People falling in the first category have to pay Rs. 500 per month and per month will be charged from people having accommodations with high rental values, like those living in the posh areas of the city.
When contacted, BMC commissioner Rajneesh Shrivastava confirmed that such a proposal had been formulated taking many factors like the high cost of getting water from Narmada river to Bhopal into account. “The proposal will be sent to mayorin-council and then be introduced in the general council meeting of BMC, which has to pass the proposal for its implementation,” he said.
In July this year, the state government announced that it was planning to set up of a regulatory commission on the lines of the electricity regulatory commission for fixing the rate of drinking water supplied by urban bodies in the state.
There are many factors for BMC’s intention to hike the water cess. Firstly, the corporation wants to ensure commercial viability of Narmada water supply to residents in Bhopal on a daily basis in the long run.
Secondly, the BMC is looking forward to the ambitious project of managing drinking water distribution in Bhopal through Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode. But in August this year, the proposal was rejected by the state government. On March 1, BMC had come up with the proposal of supplying water to the residents on a 24X7 basis through PPP mode. The project envisages 24X7 supply of drinking water and meterisation of 1.3 lakh registered tap connections and nearly onelakh illegal connections in Bhopal.
Thirdly, the BMC is worried over less revenue collection from people in water cess category, especially in the Old City. In 2010-11, water cess was amounted to around Rs. 39 crore where the BMC was able to realise only around Rs. 20 crore.
Earlier, there were also attempts to increase the water cess, but the BMC didn’t succeed in doing this.