Month-long disconnection and regularisation drive begins
Mysore/Mysuru: The Mysuru City Corporation (MCC), through its water supply arm — Vani Vilas Water Works (VVWW) — supplies water regularly to 1,85,000 houses, apartments, residential colonies, hostels and commercial complexes. Of them, only 80,000 pay their water dues and the rest do not pay a single rupee though they enjoy water facilities.
Till now, water dues have mounted up to Rs. 190 crore and the defaulters include residential, commercial, government and semi-government bodies.
The cash-strapped MCC gets a major share of income from property tax and water bills and the civic body uses the revenue to undertake various developmental activities. With 1,05,000 illegal connections, there is a big dent in its revenues.
To bring all water supply collection under the tax bracket — or to regularise them — the MCC has launched a month-long drive this morning and 25 teams have been designated with the task. The teams will visit house to house and ask the residents to pay the water bills. If they do not clear the dues, their connections will be immediately disconnected.
According to officials, major defaulters are from Narasimharaja, Chamaraja and Krishnaraja constituencies where many residents do not have water meters while they continue to enjoy the water without paying up. The MCC, unlike electricity supply companies, does not follow the system of disconnecting supply in case of non-payment of dues. The drive, this time, began after a stern warning from MCC Commissioner G. Lakshmikantha Reddy.
The 25 teams formed for disconnection and regularisation drive coordinates the task with the Abhaya teams of the MCC.
The teams are headed by Junior Engineers (JEs) and Assistant Engineers (AEs) and comprises valve men, bill collector and assistants.
The teams are visiting houses and this morning, they were spotted at Subbarayanakere, Chamarajapuram, Lashkar Mohalla, Paduvarahalli (Vinayak Nagar), Metagalli, Kabir Road and Mandi Mohalla.
In his order, the Commissioner has asked the VVWW not to show any leniency while disconnecting supplies and not bow to any pressure or influence. Residents have been given an option of paying the pending water bills before the connections are cut off. The initiative is being led by VVWW Executive Engineer (EE) Suvarna and Assistant Executive Engineer (AEE) Mustafa.
Officials said that once the dues are cleared, connections will be immediately restored. Even if the connections are illegal, they can be regularised by paying a fee, they added. However, this is not the first time that the MCC is carrying out such drives. “This time, we have intensified the action and we will see to it that by the end of March, a major portion of the Rs. 190 crore is recovered,” said officials.
Every day 270 MLD (million litres per day) water is supplied to the city areas and other localities but money is flowing into the MCC only for the water up to 160 MLD. Over 110 MLD water has no accounts due to pilferage, leakage and also lack of meters and faulty meters.
I was happy to learn about the repeated drive of MCC to collect outstanding water bills and also from those illegal connections who have not been paying for use of water use all these years.
During the times when JUSCO was managing the operations there were similar problems. Do we know why they failed? When ever we from MGP contacted JUSCO, one of the often repeated complaints was political interference. Will the same history be repeating this time also?
This time MCC should release regular reports on how many connections were regularized, how much was collected from those illegal connections, how many were disconnected for non payment, what was the impact of political interference ( hopefully such data is collected formally), and finally how much was outstanding.
We the tax payers specially an NGO like MGP should hold the responsible officials accountable. Then only revenue collection will improve. Otherwise again there will be similar “disconnection” drives in coming years to give the impression MCC is working really hard.
So, this is the municipal commissioner Reddy, who proudly boasted he has engineering and MBA degrees before sitting for IAS examinations, because, as an IAS officer, he needs challenges?
He should then sort this out and ensure that all illegal water users are charged restrospectively and revenue collected. He will find that , he will be ordered by politicians to go slow in this process of collection.
Those of you posters, who admired him, now should help him?
Do not worry. Your Municipal Commissioner,, an engineer-cum-MBA-cum IAS , Reddygaru will take the issue you raised as a challenge and will fix it, along with pot holes in the streets and street lighting problem and darkness! Afterall, he left Engineering and management careers to become an IAS officer, to meet such challenges.
Having said the above, I am very sure, he will fail, because of politicians’ interests in the above-they want their friends to have free water supply, unlimited amounts!1 Reddygaru will say ‘YES@ or otherwise, he knows, he will be transferred to the fisheries export unit in Mangaluru harbour to work in the very smelly environment of overseeing the packaging and transit of this cargo to foreign countries.