Some councillors-elect allege most of the beneficiaries are industries

Of about 140 mld (million litres per day) of water being distributed in the jurisdiction of the Mangalore City Corporation, 80 mld of water (that is 57 per cent) is not being billed, said a senior official at the civic body.

The MCC admitted this at the pre-budget consultation meeting with councillors-elect of the corporation on Monday. G.V. Rajashekar, Executive Engineer (development) said that though the pipeline from Thumbe vented dam to the city had the capacity to pump 160 mld of water, in reality only 140 mld of water was being pumped. In that, only 55 mld to 60 mld of water was being accounted for and bills are raised. The rest was not billed either due to transmission loss, faulty meters and other meter-related issues.

Some councillors-elect alleged that many of the more than 500 industries in the corporation limits were not being issued bills to the actual quantity of water being consumed by them. They tampered the meters. They alleged that officials were hand-in-glove with such industrial units. The councillors-elect questioned why digital water meters have not been installed to industrial and commercial units. They said that they should be compulsorily made to install digital water meters in the financial year 2014-15. MCC Commissioner Ajith Kumar Hegde S. said that it would be done. He said industrial units and commercial establishments would be asked to bear the cost of the digital meters.

A councillor-elect suggested that the corporation should reserve funds for the purchase of generators. They should be installed in such wet-well pumping stations (sewage collection points) which did not have them. To this, Mr. Rajashekar claimed that all wet-well pumping stations had generators.

When another councillor-elect suggested that funds should be reserved for fencing all government (revenue) vacant plots in the jurisdiction of the corporation, the Commissioner said that the civic body did not have powers to fence such lands. He said that funds have been reserved in the draft budget for fencing the vacant lands of the city corporation.

The councillors-elect suggested increasing the rent of shops in the commercial buildings of the corporation to earn more revenue.

They suggested that the corporation should reserve funds for developmental projects from its own revenue and not based on funds expected from the government. In case the government did not release funds, developmental projects planned would be hit, they said.

Raising the question, councillors-elect of the Mangalore City Corporation said that collecting parking fee from consumers amounted to “trade” at the City Centre mall. It was mandatory on the part of the mall to provide free parking space to its consumers as it was a commercial building.

Many said that the mall should be made to obtain permission from the corporation for it and pay revenue to the corporation. If the mall was left to go scot-free, all other commercial complexes in the city would follow it.

Commissioner Ajith Kumar Hegde S. said that he would examine if there was a provision for considering it as “trade and business” under the Karnataka State Municipal Corporations Act, 1976, and take a decision on it. He said that malls in Bangalore collected parking fee from consumers.

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