Corporators across party lines stalled a proposal by Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) authorities during the standing committee meeting on Thursday to raise water charges in the city. The proposal was then put in abeyance and as per procedure can’t be brought again for the next three months.
The civic body in the proposal said, “The water production cost for 2018-19 was Rs 19.44 per 1,000 litres, it is important now to discuss the telescopic rate structure. Through this tariff structure, will help in the reduction of water wastage and further help in uniform water supply in the city.” The BMC supplies 3,800 million litres of water daily to the city.
Ravi Raja, Congress group leader in BMC, who moved the amendment to record the proposal, said, “On the one hand, we have been urging residents to wash hands regularly and keep premises clean to control the spread of Covid- 19. On the other hand, the administration wants to charge more for water use. Also, there is no accountability for water wastage due to leakage and theft.”
The BMC provides water up to 150 litres per person per day for domestic use at subsidised rates. The civic body charges Rs 5.22 per 1,000 litres. To calculate water charges, BMC considers that there are five people in one household. So the civic body provides 750 litres per house per day at subsidised rates.
In the proposal tabled on Thursday, the BMC proposed to increase water charges for use above 150 litres per day per person. According to the proposal, if the consumption of one person is between 150 litres and 200 litres, the tariff rate will be four times the subsidised rate. It will be five times for consumption between 200 litres and 250 litres and six times for usage above that. This is called a ‘telescopic rate structure’. According to the BMC’s hydraulic department, the move was meant to urge residents to reduce water consumption and wastage.
The BMC has noted that the number of housing societies that use water beyond the 150 litres cap per day per person is increasing since 2016. According to BMC data, the number of water connections for 150-200 litres per person per day use has increased by 2,000 in three years since 2016, and by 1,223 for 200-250 litres.
The BMC has also proposed to increase the tariff at which water is provided to a building without an occupation certificate (OC). Currently, on humanitarian grounds, the BMC supplies water to buildings without occupation certificate at Rs 10.45 per 1,000 litres. According to the proposal, if the consumption of one person in the building without OC is above 150 litres, the tariff will be four times the subsidised rate – Rs 41.80 per 1,000 litres.
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