Apts cheat Water Board of crores
The Water Board has been warning managements of multi-storeyed buildings to enhance water connections from half-inch to three-fourth-inch but to no avail. Dr Rao says.
Sample this: Sashanka Residency situated in SP Nagar, Moula Ali, constructed in 1999 consists of 50 apartments. From 1999 to November 2013, the apartment complex was paying a meagre sum of Rs 212 towards water charges to the Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (HMWS&SB). Only after a complaint was registered in September 2013 did the Water Board take a decision and the connection was revised in December 2013. The association collected Rs 600 from 49 apartment owners which amounted to Rs 29,400 per month but paid just Rs 212 per month to the HMWS&SB. Since December 2013, Sashanka Residency is paying Rs 10,600 towards water bill (Rs 212 from each household).
There are several apartment complexes in the city that have a single connection though there are 25-50 households in the complex. For instance, another apartment complex Sindhu Homes at Mangapuram in Housing Board Colony, Moula Ali, has 20 flats but with a single connection. Dr Rao VBJ Chelakani of United Federation of Resident Welfare Associations (UFERWAS) says, “There are at least 100 apartment complexes in the city that are still having irregular water connections. There is a need for the HMWS&SB to conduct a study in each circle on the amount of water supplied and revenue generated. It would throw up unbelievable results and irregular connections can easily be weeded out.” He adds, “In Tarnaka alone there could be a dozen apartment complexes with irregular connections.”
- Apartment complexes pay a meagre Rs 212 as water bill
- The Voluntary Disclosure Scheme (VDS) covers only independent households, leaving apartment complexes
- More than 100 apartment complexes in the city are still drawing water from old connections
The Water Board has been warning managements of multi-storeyed buildings to enhance water connections from half-inch to three-fourth-inch but to no avail. Dr Rao says. “In many cases the China-made meters do not work and there are not enough vigilance officers. There is a need for the Water Board to conduct a special drive against apartment complexes. There are many complexes that still draw water from the old half-inch water connections.”
The HMWS&SB constituted four Vigilance Task Force (VTF) teams for regular inspections of households in four circles but has not taken up a special drive against irregular connections in apartment complexes. PS Suryanarayana, director, Revenue, HMWS&SB, says, “The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) transferred the water connections data to the Water Board and there are a lot of discrepancies whenever an irregular water connection comes to our notice, the vigilance team swings into action. Three months ago, 7000 applicants came forward during the VDS.”
Back in the day, while the HMWS&SB had invoked the RR Act, enabling them to confiscate mobile assets for non-payment of dues, Red Notices were served to over 2.72 lakh of the 3.27 lakh identified defaulters. 7000 of the 2.72 lakh is still a huge margin. It has to be highlighted that the Board stressed on independent households and ignored apartment complexes.
M Dayanand, an owner of Sashanka Residency, who has been fighting for the cause of a separate bill for each apartment, says, “I have requested the Water Board several times for providing a separate bill but there was no response.” PS Suryanarayana said, “Under the Multi-Storeyed Apartment Complex (MSAC) category the HMWS&SB provides a single connection and the bill is generated based on the amount of water consumed. It is for the society to decide as to how much amount they would charge from the members.”