BWSSB to meter all unauthorised water connections to minimise loss

Special Correspondent

Only 450 MLD of 850 MLD supplied is accounted for at present

There are 85,000 illegal connections in Bangalore

BWSSB Act to be amended to ensure stricter penalties

BANGALORE: The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) is planning to meter all unauthorised water connections in slums and other localities to prevent water from being used without it being accounted for.

Briefing presspersons here on Thursday, Minister for BWSSB, Excise and Information Technology and Biotechnology Katta Subramanya Naidu said that according to an estimate there are 85,000 unauthorised water connections in Bangalore city, particularly in slums. The urban poor living in slums are drawing water supplied by the BWSSB through unauthorised connections.

Mr. Naidu said a final decision on metering unauthorised connections would be taken after a meeting with Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa.

The BWSSB would install the meters free of cost. Unauthorised connections and leakage from pipelines caused revenue loss to the BWSSB. Out of 850 million litres of water supplied to Bangalore every day, only 450 MLD is accounted for.

The BWSSB has constituted a Revenue Enforcement Cell under the direction supervision of the Board Chairman to detect unauthorised connections and initiate legal action against the offenders. The cell inspected a building complex on Bannerghatta Road on November 18 and found that water and sanitation facilities were being used without paying charges to the Board, he said.

The ITC Knowledge Park building on Bannerghatta Road has four blocks. It obtained water and sanitation facilities for its A and B blocks in 2004, but 18,964 sq. m of the two blocks was left out. The builders then extended water and sanitation facilities to C and D blocks of 1,80,391 sq. m without getting permission and without paying the pro-rata fees. The BWSSB has disconnected the illegal connection and has ordered the builders to pay Rs. 5.98 crore along with a fine, Mr. Naidu said.

The BWSSB was constituted under an Act of the legislature in 1964 for the supply of safe piped water for residents of the city and safe disposal of waste water. The BWSSB Act, 1964, will be amended in order to impose penalty on people receiving water from illegal connections and prosecute them. The Secretary of the department has been instructed to work on amendments to the Act to make it more stringent. The existing Act empowers officials to impose only a paltry fine of Rs. 100, the Minister said.

The enforcement cell will unearth illegal water connections and help enhance revenue to the BWSSB. The Board is expected to generate an additional Rs. 100 crore this year following the enforcement drive, he said.

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