Get set to pay higher maintenance charges, as housing societies will have to pay the 'telescopic' rates fixed by the BMC, which can go up to double the current charges or even more.
Kalpataru Habitat, a 21-storey tower located in Parel, consumes 2 lakh litres of water a month and is paying
Rs 20,000 for that. When the buildings are installed with water meters, the residents will have to shell out about Rs 35,000 a month for the consumption. That's because BMC will then charge them under telescopic rates.
Although the civic body has proposed a revision in its water charges to a certain extent, residential housing societies will have to cough up almost double. The city has a total of about 3.25 lakh residential societies and they will have to pay as per the telescopic system rate in a phased manner, which causes rates to go up to about Rs 6.11 per 1,000 litres. Anuradha Maheshwari, secretary of the society, said, "We haven't received anything on record about the hike."
Deep waters: A water meter fitted in a building at Pratiksha Nagar.
The civic body has proposed hike of 50 paisa (from Rs 3.50 to Rs 4) per 1,000 litres in water supply for housing societies. The charges will actually go up to Rs 6.11 on an average, if the society has a water meter. The civic administration has also proposed an 8% hike every year in water charges.
Water woe: Kalpataru Habitat in Parel will have to pay about Rs 35,000
per month if the society installs a water meter. The society consumes
around 2 lakh litres of water per month. File pic
Raj Tower located in Jogeshwari, equipped with a water meter, is a case in point. Shivaji Malage, chairman of the society, said, "My society currently pays Rs 7 per 1,000 litres as per the meter readings and a maintenance charge of Rs 1,050 per flat. Though we have not received any notice about the increase, we as a society are bracing ourselves to shell out more money from our pockets."
BMC has plans to install 1.29 lakh water meters in the city in a phased manner. The water department has already installed 66,208 meters till February 2012 and has targeted October 2012 to fit the remaining 63,567. The municipal commissioner has also announced that remaining societies will be covered in the next two years.
In its recent budget, BMC has proposed that societies and residential buildings pay Rs 4 per 1,000 litres from the current Rs 3.50. Industrial units will have to pay Rs 40 per 1,000 litres from Rs 25, while racecourses and 3-star hotels will have to shell out Rs 60 per 1,000 litres from Rs 38. Within two days, the civic body has drafted a proposal to seek approval of the standing committee and plans to table it on Wednesday.
"We are not ready to accept the hike and opposed it strongly in the committee meeting. People have voted for us and to give them some relief, not to burden them further," said Dilip Lande, Maharashtra Navnir-man Sena leader in BMC.
Not only the Opposition, even members of ruling parties say the hike is not fair. "We are not ready for such steep rates. They will be reduced and the clause of 8% hike every year is not acceptable," said Rahul Shewale, chairman of the standing committee. The budget and its various proposals will be discussed in the committee meeting before being cleared.
When new water rates come into effect, if passed by BMC
No of water meters the BMC will install by October
What is telescopic bill system?
A housing society that consumes up to 150 litres per person per day is charged at Rs 3.50 per 1,000 litres. But if consumption per person goes up to 200 litres per day per person, it will be charged Rs 6.11 per 1,000 litres. In case of more than 200 litre consumption per person per day, charges will go beyond Rs 10 and lastly over Rs 14 will be charged if the consumption would go above 250 litres per person per day.
Citizens used to get 135 litres of water per capita per day prior to the year 2000. However, the policy was amended in 2001 and BMC started supplying 90 litres per capita per day, and the process continued till 2009. In the aftermath of the water crisis BMC has reduced its water supply limit up to 45 litres of water per capita per day for all newly- constructed buildings. On Tuesday, the municipal commissioner scrapped all these policies and decided to supply water 'on demand'.
Shivaji Malage, Chairman, Raj Towers, Jogeshwari: My society currently pays Rs 7 per 1,000 ltrs of water. It also costs us Rs 1,050 as maintenance per flat. The total expenditure for water (3 months) is Rs 20,000 for approximately 1 lakh litres. Though we have not received any notice about the hike, we as a society would definitely have to shell out more money from our pockets.
Vinod Shekhar, former corporator, Colaba: It is completely unfair to increase the water tax immediately after BMC elections as it will have an impact on the monthly expenses of the common man. Before increasing the water tax, BMC should ensure that it provides adequate amount of clean water to Mumbaikars, which it has not done in the past. I will take up this issue at higher levels and will keep opposing this proposed hike in water tax.
Guncha Khare, Bombay Hub, Bandra: We pay Rs 3.60 per 1,000 litres. We have received information about an increase in the price of water. I wouldn't mind paying the extra money, as long as BMC reduces the occurrences of water cuts, provides better quality water, and improves the status of pipelines. Without doing so, any increment in the cost of water is unjustified.