Board launches drive to identify defaulters
The apathetic attitude of the Secunderabad Cantonment Board (SCB) in checking illegal water connections and recovering dues from defaulters has resulted in a loss of about Rs.8 crore to the Board besides poor water supply to genuine consumers.
As per SCB records, there are 15,000 water connections in over 270 residential colonies and 125 slums. Authorities have identified nearly 10,000 consumers as defaulters and served notices asking them to pay the dues or face legal action.
Everyday SCB requires 60 lakh gallons of water, but the Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (HMWSSB) supplies only 40 lakh gallons. In addition to the short supply, illegal connections are posing problems for regular consumers.
With complaints of irregular and non-supply of water, the Board authorities have decided to take up a survey of number of water connections.
This has resulted in detection of 10,000 defaulters and many illegal connections.
But why was action not initiated against these defaulters earlier? “There was acute manpower shortage. The Board functioned without a water superintendent for about three years and that sums up the situation,” defends an officer from the water section.
This apart, notices were issued to defaulters regularly, but not many bothered to respond. But things have changed now as the Board is firm on lodging a police complaint and taking legal action against defaulters.
Ever since the survey commenced last month, about 30 illegal water connections were detected in Sowjanya Colony, Indian Airlines Colony, Bowenpally and other areas. Of these, eight consumers have agreed to pay Rs.10, 000 each as penalty and have applied for regularisation, the officer claims.
More importantly, many consumers are now regularly paying their water bills. This resulted in bill collections worth about Rs.1 crore in the last month against the annual collection of Rs.28 lakh last year, he says.
“We will continue the survey for five months. It is estimated that there could be 1,000 illegal water connections in each of the eight wards. We will make all the defaulters to fall in line,” he assures.