Those not paying their outstanding water bills even after the civic body’s four months grace stand to have their water connections cut. According to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), a majority of the defaulters are private and commercial consumers.
The civic body has at least Rs 656 crore in outstanding water bills with private consumers and many government and semi-government buildings. Of the Rs 656 crore, about 69% (Rs 453 crore) is pending with private consumers, while 31% (Rs 203 crore) is payable by various government agencies.
Municipal commissioner Subodh Kumar said the BMC would issue notices to all defaulters, including government agencies, this month, and “If they fail to pay the outstanding amount, the BMC will cut their water connections the next month,” he said.
The outstanding up to November 2010 was Rs 826 crore, while Rs 170 crore has been recovered in response to the amnesty scheme. The scheme, which promises to write off about 2% penalty levied on consumers for non-payment, was started from November 2010 until February 2011.
When the state government agencies’ pending bills were pointed out, Kumar said, “They are also consumers. We will write to the state government about the outstanding amount and will then take action.” He clarified that sometimes BMC’s outstanding amount was adjusted in the total outstanding of the state.
Because of the poor response to the amnesty scheme, the BMC will now charge 2% penalty per month on the outstanding amount. “We will take action on big defaulters first,” Kumar said.