The State government has directed all urban local bodies except Chennai to permit regularisation of unauthorised household water connections after collecting the connection deposit amount, which will be twice the present rate.

An order, issued by the Municipal Administration and Water Supply (MAWS) department on Monday, covers 9 municipal corporations (except Chennai), 148 municipalities and 561 town panchayats.

The order stated that the regularisation of the water connections should be carried out in three months and the local bodies should send a report to the Directors of Municipal Administration and Town Panchayats.

The deposit amount, collected at the time of providing water connections, varies from one local body to another. It is returnable at the time of surrender of connection.

In respect of the municipal corporations and municipalities, the deposit amount ranges from Rs. 1,000 to Rs. 5,000, while in the case of town panchayats, it ranges from Rs. 3,000 to Rs. 5,000, according to officials of the two Directorates. In some cases where beneficiaries are covered by new water supply projects, the deposit amount is Rs.8,000. Of late, the project cost is an important factor in deciding the quantum of deposit amount, explains officials. The issue of regularising illegal water connections has been bothering the government for long.

In his communication to the government in October 2009, the Director of Municipal Administration referring to the drive of identifying unauthorised water connections in the Tirunelveli Municipal Corporation, stated that the Commissioner of the local body sought the permission to extend the scope of the government order, issued in June 2002, to permit the regularisation of illegal water connections in municipalities and town panchayats to municipal corporations too. According to the June 2002 order, unauthorised connections could be regularised on levy of penalty of Rs. 3,000 for the domestic category and Rs. 5,000 for other categories.