The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board is now armed with powers to impose stringent punishment, including imprisonment and penalties on building owners or residents who pilfer water from the Board's lines, or violate in other ways the provisions of the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage and Certain Other Laws (Amendment) Act 2009.
Red tape cut
With the gazetting of the amended Act on April 16, the board has recruited 600 personnel for enforcing the law. The 1964 Act did not give the board these powers, and even a penalty of Rs. 100 entailed miles of red tape.
BWSSB Chairperson P.B. Ramamurthy told The Hindu there was no information on the exact quantity of water stolen, but measures would be initiated to save water, which is pumped from the Cauvery over a distance of over 100 km. Only 15,000 connections and public taps in slums in the city are getting free water from various sources, including borewells.
According to Section 108A of the Act, owners and residents drawing water from the board through illegal connections or by tampering meters face imprisonment for a term extending up to three years or fines or both. Section 108B provides for punishment to those abetting violators.
What it entails
Every owner, occupier or builder, who fails to pay the assessed pro rata charges may have to pay a penalty of up to 25 per cent of the pro rata charges as may be assessed by the Board. Section 72 enables the board to direct the property owner to build separate drains for polluted water and connect them to the Board's sewer lines.
It also requires occupants to have separate drains to collect rainwater and unpolluted sub-soil water so as to empty them into rainwater harvesting systems or corporation drains.