BENGALURU : Nearly five years after paying the full deposit of Rs 3.8 crore to the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) for new Cauvery water connections, 608 houses at Gokulam Apartments in Doddakallasandra are yet to get piped Cauvery water. Now, BWSSB wants the residents to pay Rs 4 crore more for the connection. As the standoff continues, the water tanker business is flourishing.
A resident, requesting anonymity, said, "Between 2008 and 2012, many owners started moving in. A BWSSB order issued in 2014 fixed Rs 2,77,59,320 as the pro-rata charges (one-time payment for new water and sanitary connections) and Rs 1,01,16,334 as Beneficiary Capital Contribution, specially levied for newly added BBMP areas. Payment deadline was March 2016."
But on March 24 that year, BWSSB doubled the pro-rata charges from Rs 200 per square metre to Rs 400. "The Association got special permission from then Chief Secretary TM Vijay Bhaskar to pay charges based on the previous rate within four days and the amount was handed over on March 28. But due to heavy rush at the BWSSB office, a payment receipt was not issued. The next day, we got an acknowledgement of our DD and received the receipt on March 30," another resident said.
"The one-day delay on the part of BWSSB in giving us the proof of payment is the reason why we are in trouble today. The water board now wants us to pay the revised fee, which is another Rs 4 crore," he added.
Members of the Gokulam Apartment Owners' Welfare Association have made repeated visits to the BWSSB head office, filed a case in the High Court and sought help from leading politicians, including MP Tejasvi Surya, but in vain.
BWSSB Chairman N Jayaram told The New Indian Express, "We had issued a Demand Note asking house owners to pay us an additional sum of nearly Rs 4 crore due to increase in charges. If they do so then we can provide the water and sanitary connection. Their payment was delayed and we are merely following what the law allows us to do."
He said, "The high court ruled in our favour and asked us to issue a Speaking Order to the residents detailing why the extra amount needs to be paid."