A separate team to check water theft would be more effective in curbing the rampant water theft taking place in the State, say sources in the KWA.

Currently the anti-theft squad comprises people from various sub-divisions who have to leave their regular work to take up this special task.

K. M. Siddique, Assitant Executive Engineer (KWA), at Headworks, Aluva, who leads a six-member team, said that all members are from different offices of KWA and the raids are done only when the pressure builds up for checking theft. Since every member of the team is bogged down by regular work, going for raids in-between makes the work on their desk pile up. Hence, it is difficult to maintain a tempo of the raids that is required to get good results.

The squad that was formed about two years ago had submitted about 150 cases that were either theft or misuse. KWA has also sent out assessment notices worth Rs. 21 lakh.

While some cases were settled immediately, some have gone in to appeal before the KWA's Appellate Authority and some have gone to the court.

Since water theft has been brought under Water Supply Regulation rules, theft or misuse could attract heavy fine and punishment. However, to achieve good results the squad needs to be active throughout, said Mr. Siddique.

In fact each sub-division squad is supposed to go into the field between the fifth and twentieth of every month, but seldom does, he said.

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