Chandigarh residents complain of inflated water bills
Even after the Chandigarh administration stayed the hike in water tariff, many residents complain they continue to get high water bills.
According to Gursewak Singh Brar, a resident of Sector 8, he received an “unreasonable” bill of ₹9,000 for two months, and he ended up clearing it for the fear of late payment charges. “The only response I got after complaining to the municipal officials was that there is nothing they could do about it,” he said.
Baljinder Singh Bittu, chairman, Federation of Sector Welfare Associations, Chandigarh, said residents who were getting bills amounting to ₹500 earlier are now being charged ₹3,000.
“It seems the MC staff has randomly put the charges on bills without checking the meters. We have made several complaints, but nobody bothers,” he said, adding that the federation is considering to take legal recourse.
The Chandigarh administration in May notified a stay on the hiked water tariff, putting off the increased charges till the next fiscal in view of the pandemic.
It was in September 2020 that it had notified up to 200% hike in water tariff, which led to a public outcry and criticism from the opposition. The MC General House had even passed resolutions, asking the administration to roll back the hike.
Vinod Vashisht, convener, City Forum of Residents Welfare Organisations, said: “Residents’ miseries are not going to end as the administration has already notified to restart the hike in water tariff from April 2022. It seems in the absence of a strong opposition in the MC House, the ruling dispensation has lost all empathy for its citizens.”
The municipal corporation, on its part, claims that all complaints regarding the high charges have been addressed.
“In most cases, the inflated bills were due to internal leakages at the consumer’s end. In cases where it was observed that the meter readings were taken wrongly, we have rectified the bills,” said Narinder Pal Sharma, MC chief engineer.