Mumbai: Not just water, BMC's revenue also dries up

Updated: May 13, 2019, 09:52 IST | Chetna Yerunkar

Data shows that more than 2 lakh defaulters owe the civic body in water bill dues worth Rs 2,092 crore in the last 20 years

Mumbai: Not just water, BMC's revenue also dries up
Maximum water in the city is consumed for drinking, kitchen chores, toilets, and for washing cars. Pics/Getty Images

As if a diminishing water stock wasn't worrying enough, the revenue collection of water bills from across the city has also hit rock bottom. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is having a tough time recovering bills due for over two decades, amounting to an outstanding of R2,092.02 crore, including those from its own administrative buildings. As of today, the BMC's hydraulic engineering department has a total of 2,28,528 defaulters.

Properties owned by the civic body too have defaulted water payment apart from private buildings which owe the BMC R1127.96 crore along with various other government agencies. Civic properties across the city owe about R5.79 crore to the BMC.

While the Central government owes BMC R32.15 crore over the last two decades, the Central Railway and Western Railway have dues pending worth R188.95 crore and R242.41 crore respectively. The BMC has been sending several reminders to the state government as well regarding paying the outstanding amount of R144.11 crore but to no avail.

Also read: BMC: 81 percent juices sold on roadsides unfit for consumption

Maximum water in the city is consumed for drinking, kitchen chores, toilets, and for washing cars. Pics/Getty Images

However, recovery of water dues is focused on private residential and commercial structures while government structures are given a leeway. Civic officials, however, stated that as the amount to be recovered from private buildings is higher, "we focus on this, whereas the government agencies are intimated through written correspondence."

There are 3,68,968 water connection meters that supply water across the city - including slums. Water is majorly used for drinking, washing cars or in toilets with residential buildings paying R4.67 per 1,000 litres and slum dwellers paying R3.5 per 1,000 liters. From April 2018 to March 31 this year, the city has consumed 81.45 crore kilo litres of water for which the bills were rolled out last month.

Also read: Praveen Pardeshi to be new BMC chief

Many families across the city resort to storing water in containers in times of a water shortage. File pic
Many families across the city resort to storing water in containers in times of a water shortage. File pic

'We go easy on govt agencies'
"The focus is to recover bills from private owners and if a residential property pays even 50 per cent dues, we restore the water supply connection," a senior civic official said, adding that for commercial properties, the decision to restore the connection is taken on a case-to-case basis.

"The outstanding amount is collated since 2001 when we began the computerisation of bills and includes 2 per cent of monthly additional charges for defaulting payments. While we go easy on government agencies and do not disconnect the supply, we are continuously sending them reminders of the pending dues," he added. Ashok Tawadia, BMC Hydraulic Engineer, was not available for comment.

Water issues in figures
. Rs 1127.96 crore - Amount private buildings owe BMC
. Rs 5.79 crore - Amount civic properties owe BMC
. Rs 32.15 crore - Amount Central government owes BMC
. Rs 188.95 crore - Amount CR owes BMC
. Rs 242.41 crore Amount WR owes BMC
. Rs 144.11 crore - Amount state government owes BMC

Also read: BMC says Mumbaikars can now directly drink water from the tap

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