Kalyan civic body has unpaid water bills worth ₹307 crore: RTI query
The Kalyan-Dombivli Municipal Corporation ( KDMC) owes ₹307 crore to the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) for all the water it has received in the past 10 years, according to a right to information (RTI) query.
The query was made by activist Raju Nalawade, a resident of Milapnagar Dombivli MIDC, who has been campaigning against the water shortage in the area for the past two years.
“Every year, the pending water bills increase as the civic body fails to pay it. It has now reached ₹307 crore, which is a huge sum. We have been asking the civic body to pay up it as it will help us improve the water supply,” said Sanjay Kumbhar, deputy engineer water department, Dombvili MIDC.
Until 2014, the MIDC supplied 30 million litres per day (mld) of water to the civic body. But now, it supplies only 5 mld.
“The information from my RTI query is shocking. If such a big amount is pending, then how will the authorities manage funds to take up the works for new pipelines or any other water-supply related work,” said Nalawade.
As per RTI query, the KDMC defaulted on ₹155 crore. But since it also expanded its jurisdiction over 27 villages in July 2015, according to Nalawade, it had to take up their dues of ₹152 crore for water supplied by MIDC.
Rajiv Pathak, an executive engineer with KDMC’s water department, said the civic body found it difficult to recover the amounts because many buildings were being redeveloped or having their structures altered. “Some [societies] have also approached the court. Until we recover bills from the consumers, we cannot pay our dues to the MIDC,” said Pathak.
Pathak said his department was serving notices to defaulting consumers or taking action by disconnecting their water supply. “Our efforts are on to recover the maximum amount and send it to the MIDC,” he said.
The RTI query also revealed that a little over 17% of water was leaking from the pipeline on the Kalyan-Shil Road. “Water leakages has been a major reason for lack of adequate supply. I had complained about it to the authorities by posting pictures of the leakage but nothing has been done so far,” said Nalawade.
However, MIDC officials countered this claim. “Whenever there is a leak in the expansion joint, we have repaired it regularly. We undertook repairs last in September 2018. After this, there has been no leakage reported. The 17% leak because of water pressure generated in the pipeline’s air valves and expansion joints,” said an MIDC officer, who did not wish to be named.
“Although there is a water cut once a week, it is sometimes extended to two or three days. At times, water supply is in low pressure. We are having a hard time every day,” said Supriya Kadam, 34, a resident of Ajade village in Dombivli MIDC.
The Dombivli housing welfare society has been demanding to make use of a defunct 20-lakh litre water tank at Gharda Circle to improve conditions for now.
“We have decided to carry out a structural audit of the water tank and further decision on whether it can be repaired or razed. If there are chances of using the water tank after repair, we will use it,” said the MIDC officer.
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