The Madhya Pradesh police department tops the Indore Municipal Corporation’s (IMC) list of water tax defaulters and is closely followed by the Public Work Department in the second position, the civic body has revealed.
According to the IMC officials, the police department has not been paying water tax to the municipal corporation for over three years.
"They are evading water tax to the tune of Rs 2 crore or more to the IMC," said Devendra Singh Chouhan, the deputy commissioner of the civic body.
Sources reveal that the police department enjoys water supply from 111 connections provided by the corporation but had not shelled out even a single rupee for it.
"They are the biggest defaulters in the water tax defaulters’ list,” said Chouhan.
The Public Works Department (PWD) is second in the fray in the defaulters' list, said another IMC official. The list has more than 50,000 defaulters.
The corporation provides 1.974 lakh water connections across the city.
Chouhan said that the revenue collected so far in this fiscal year is only about Rs 37 crore and an additional Rs 10 crore from Narmada line. Whereas, the corporation's revenue collection target from water taxation is about Rs 60 crore annually.
An executive engineer of IMC, Sanjeev Shrivastav said, "It costs us Rs 29 per 1000 liters of water for purification and transportation. Annually we spend Rs 100 crore on electricity and Rs 10 crore on maintenance of old lines and in laying new ones."
As a remedy, the IMC official said that they have formed eight teams for revenue collection and have handed them zone-wise defaulters' list. They will conduct a door-to-door campaign, collect tax and address issues concerning the consumers, added the IMC official.
Some opined that heavy taxation is one of the major reasons why citizens evade water tax. The IMC charges a minimum of Rs 200 per month for a half-inch residential connection that goes up to Rs 60,200 depending on the size of the pipeline.
For commercial purposes, the charges range from Rs 750 to Rs 60,200 and from Rs 1,200 to Rs 1,20,500 for industrial establishments.