Residents of Swami Kripa cooperative housing society in Girgaum were in for a huge shock when officials from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) landed at their doorstep to cut off their water connection last week. According to the civic authorities, the society owed them a total of Rs 5.83 lakh including a late fee of Rs 2.62 lakh for the period from 2006 to 2013.
Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) constructed the building in 1991 under the Prime Minister’s Grant Project (PMGP) scheme. According to the residents, the BMC sends the water bill to MHADA, which later passes it over to the society. This arrangement was made because the conveyance deed between the two parties is not in place.
However, the society stopped receiving bills from MHADA despite pursuing the issue with the BMC. “Both authorities are passing the buck to each other while we have to bear the loss unnecessarily,” said Madhukar Mayekar, secretary of the society. “We have not delayed the payment deliberately. The BMC should consider our problem as a special case and waive off the late fee charges. The society is ready to pay the rest of the bill,” added Mayekar.
Currently, the building falls under MHADA’s repair board. Prasad Lad, chairman for MHADA’s Mumbai Repair and Reconstruction Board, who was not aware of the case said, “I will look into the matter and will try to give justice to the tenants.”
An official of MHADA on condition of anonymity said that they are only concerned about building and repair issues and not water charges. The BMC, though, categorically said that the late fee would not be waived off at any cost. Ramesh Bambale, hydraulic engineer of the BMC, said, “We have no powers to waive off the late fee or interest. Everyone has to pay the water charges including the late fee if bills are not paid in time.”