Information procured and compiled by a Right to Information (RTI) activist shows that several bungalows occupied by cabinet ministers, including the bungalows part of the Chief Ministers official residence — Varsha and Torna — have defaulted on paying water bills on time as of December 13. While Varsha’s pending dues are Rs 24,916 since December 2019, June 2020, August 2020 and October 2020, as it has four separate connections, for Torna it is Rs 3,803 since April 2020.
The information of water bill defaulters was compiled by RTI activist Shakeel Ahmad from the BMC’s website. Ahmad said all ministers’ bungalows have defaulted on water bills amounting upto Rs 24.56 lakh. “The BMC is very prompt in taking action against common citizens when they fail to pay water bills. But in case of the chief minister’s and other minister’s bungalows, the BMC had not taken any action. All bungalows have not paid their dues. Why is there such discrimination in taking action?”, said Ahmad.
As per the information, Water Resources Minister Jayant Patil’s bungalow Seva Sadan, Energy Minister Nitin Raut’s bungalow Pernkuti, Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat’s Royalstone and Health Minister Rajesh Tope’s Jetvan have also defaulted their water bills. All these bungalows are maintained by the Public Works Department.
Meanwhile, the chief minister’s office clarified there are no pending dues of water bills. “A report was sought from the BMC on the issue of pending water bills. It shows no outstanding dues against these bungalows. The news of defaulters is not correct, “said the CMO in the statement.
On the CMO’s clarification, Ahmad claimed that after the information of due water bills was made public, the CM’s office rushed to clear the pending dues. “The defaulter’s list published on December 13 clearly shows the name of the Varsha bungalow. Now they have paid the amount. Earlier, when Fadnavis was CM, all pending amounts were paid and since then, they have again started defaulting on bills, “said Ahmad.
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