If your society has been ignoring civic water bills, it’s time you took serious notice.
In an aggressive drive launched last week, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has disconnected nearly 1,200 water connections in just four days, most of them belonging to residential premises.
And it’s about to get worse as the civic body’s deadline of March 31 approaches.
Launched on March 19, the drive was conducted to step up collections of water bills from heavy and regular defaulters. Not surprising then that collections have improved considerably. This month, until March 24, the BMC had collected Rs77 crore; the collection for February was Rs72 crore. The civic body expects another Rs30 crore to be added to its kitty by month-end.
Ramesh Bambale, civic hydraulic engineer, said, “Although our regular efforts at collection were on, we decided to crack the whip on those who have been regular defaulters and have refused to pay up.”
According to figures obtained from civic officials, the eastern suburbs saw the most number of water connections being severed, at around 600, till March 22. Next were those in the western suburbs, where the civic body disconnected 294 lines and got 1,568 water connection holders to pay up Rs4.65 crore. The civic body disconnected another 262 water connections in the island city.
Said an official from the hydraulic department, “Earlier, we used to wait for connection holders to pay for months after the due dates had expired. But now we have begun cracking the whip, especially on those holders who have been ignoring our requests to pay up since a long time.”
Many residents have been protesting the move.
A managing committee member of a society in the eastern suburbs, which the BMC has threatened to stop supplying water, said: “While conveying land to the society, the builder left a huge sum of civic taxes unpaid even though they were being collected from us. How are we going to cough up nearly Rs10 lakh the BMC has demanded?”