If you have ever been stranded with no water in your taps because of a water cut you knew nothing about, the civic body has found a solution to mitigate your woes.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is set to start a system that sends bulk SMSes to citizens informing them about water-related notices, as well as water bill transactions.
Once the BMC’s system rolls out, you will be able to find out your water bill amount, the date your payment is due and details of pending payments. It will also help you make timely arrangements in case a temporary water cut is planned.
Ramesh Bhambale, chief hydraulic engineer, said that the civic body is already in the process of developing a software that sends out these SMSes. “We have set a time-frame of one month to start the service. More importantly, we need citizens to be receptive to the initiative and register their mobile numbers so the purpose is achieved.”
Owing to repair work on major pipelines, the BMC often imposes water cuts in parts of the city. But apart from informing citizens through the press, there is no concrete system through which such information can be disseminated.
“People are often unaware about water cuts that have to be imposed by the BMC on short notice. By registering for this service, citizens will be able to get the required information well in advance,” added Bhambale.
The initiative has been in the pipeline for almost a year. Through the endeavour, the civic body also hopes to boost its revenue by ensuring timely payments and reducing the number of defaulters.
The effort has, however, received mixed responses from citizens. “It is definitely a welcome move. But it is not clear how it will actually help people as water charges are collectively paid by the housing society. There are no individual bills received by flat-owners,” said Rajkumar Sharma, coordinator, Action for good Governance and Networking in India.
Prem Khanduri, secretary of Vasant Sagar housing society in Kandivli, however, feels it could help him keep track of the water bills that the civic body generates. “With this system, SMSes can be easily stored and referred to,” said Khanduri.