To hold meetings with GHMC officials on ‘illegal connections' to sort out the mess

It was frustration first and now it is surprise. The Water Board was getting edgy at the poor response to its illegal connections regularisation scheme. But now it is shocked to learn that the reason lies largely with its un-updated accounts.

Most customers are contesting the Board's claim of their connections being illegal by producing connection letters issued by GHMC. But the same is not reflected in the Board's ledgers, leading to dispute. A survey done by the Water Board has resulted in detection of 25,000 illegal connections, mostly in erstwhile municipalities. Now it turns out that most consumers have some evidence or the other to prove their legal status. Some are regularly paying monthly bills but have no water connection papers, some have the relevant document but no connection. Still some have paid money towards the connection but got no connection yet!

It was only in May 2009 that GHMC handed over 95,500 connections in ex-municipalities to HMWSSB. Till then it was the Corporation which was issuing new connections and collecting money. Strangely the records of the two civic bodies have not been set right with the result their accounts don't tally. Consumers who are regularly paying their bills to the GHMC are shown as defaulters in the Water Board records. Officials maintain that the Board has to get arrears to the tune of Rs. 26 crore from the ex-municipalities. They want customers to get certified copies from GHMC about their connections being genuine.

To sort out the mess, the Water Board has decided to hold joint meetings with the GHMC officials in the next four days. The first meeting will be held on Tuesday to reconcile the accounts of Malkajgiri and Alwal municipalities, said K. Ashok Reddy, Executive Director, HMWSSB. The revenue wing is to meet on August 7 to look into disputes surrounding the illegal connections. Till date only 80 have applied for regularisation paying connection charges of Rs. 6.50 lakh. The scheme is open till Sept. 14.

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