After the house tax department of the Amritsar municipal corporation, it is the turn of the water supply department, which, too, is facing massive arrears and recovery targets, to shame its defaulters with beating of drums. As a result, the recovery teams of this department too can be seen approaching the defaulters with percussionists.
Desperate to come out of the financial mess that it is facing, the MC has fortified its water supply and sewerage department by appointing six SDOs and two superintendents and suspending a non-performing official for his failure to make recoveries. The MC is also taking help from police personnel, who will accompany the recovery teams of the department to defaulters' establishments during raids and sealing process and issuing strict instructions for severing their water supply in case of their unwillingness to clear their dues.
Sources added that the department had been assigned the recovery target of `20 crore, but had only been able to recover `4.4 crore from April to July as against the set target of `6.6 crore. The MC authorities have now assigned a daily target of `11 lakh to the recovery teams with the warning of strict action being taken against non-performing officials.
Ironically, the department also faces the challenge of dealing with defaulters who break the seals without clearing their dues and in cases pertaining to theft of water.
On the suspension of an official, municipal commissioner DPS Kharbanda said, "There is hardly any place for non-performing employees in the MC. The recovery teams of the water supply department have been assigned a daily target of `11 lakh, which they are expected to achieve."
He added that a police team comprising one assistant sub-inspector and four constables had been assigned to the recovery teams to help them make recoveries from defaulters. Kharbanda added that a strategy had been prepared to deal with cases of breakage of seals and water theft. "The recovery teams have been duly apprised of this strategy, while strict instructions have been issued to them to sever water connections if the defaulters fail to clear their dues," he said.