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BWSSB’s penalty unfair, say consumers

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Swathi Shivanand

Those who bought sites recently have to pay it

BANGALORE: Cauvery water for the 72 newly-added areas of the city comes with an expensive rider: a hefty penalty for those who did not pay up in time. Consumers are not amused.

As a “beneficiary” of the new project which will deliver 100 million litres of water from the Cauvery every day, individuals should have paid the capital contribution by July 31, 2005, the deadline set by the State Government.

In case money was not paid by then, penalties of at least Rs. 2,700, Rs. 5,400 or Rs. 8,100, depending on the site dimensions, will have to be paid, says the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB).

Penalty amount

Interestingly, the penalty amounts to 54 per cent of the original contribution.

“I did not pay the contribution because they had not even laid the water pipes then. My argument was that you can ask me to pay once you are starting water supply. I am willing to pay the beneficiary capital contribution but not the penalty,” said A.V. Shama Rao of Ramamurthynagar.

His neighbour M. Joseph said, “Earlier, they charged on the basis of the extent of construction. Now they are charging the contribution based on the dimensions of the site. I have a house on 1,400 sq. ft. and I have to pay Rs. 10,000 but a person next to me has built a three-storied house on 1,200 sq. ft. and he has to pay Rs. 5,000 only.

Logic

What is the logic?”

Another drawback in the scheme is that even if a person bought a site only this year, penalty will still have to be paid from August 1, 2005.

“The penalty is being charged on the site. So if the person who owned the site in 2005 has not paid, the current owner will have to pay it along with the penalty,” Additional Chief Engineer P.G. Sundara Murthy told The Hindu.

Contributions

The contributions collected in 2005 for a 1,200 sq. ft site was Rs. 10,000 but that has now been brought down to Rs. 5,000, said N. Narasimhaiah Dalapathy of M.V. Nagar, who brought up the issue in one of the city-wide water adalats held by the BWSSB on Thursday.

He said, “They have promised us that they will adjust it with the water bills and the money we have to pay for meter installation. I hope they do not make us run around for that.”

The scheme to provide Cauvery water to 72 wards in the former city municipal councils of Bommanhalli, Byatarayanapura, Dasarahalli, Krishnarajapuram, Mahadevapura, Rajarajeshwaringar, Yelahanka and Kengeri was started in 2004.

Additional charges

About 30 per cent of prospective consumers have paid their capital contribution.

They will need to pay an additional Rs. 1,740 as meter installation charges.

The project has received funds from the Centre and State under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission.

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