When it comes to stealing water, some elected representatives seem to lead the way.
According to sources at the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB), one MLA and around 15 corporators in the newly-added areas of the city have drawn pipelines from the BWSSB’s main pipeline and are drawing Cauvery water without permission. They have not paid the mandatory pro-rata charges for the connection.
Local BWSSB officials are too scared to reveal their names, and the special squads formed to nab the offenders dare not go to their households.
The MLA who has been drawing water without a meter has been identified as Satish Reddy of Bommanahalli. The corporators are yet to be identified.
Reddy is said to have drawn a pipeline from the BWSSB’s main line supplying Cauvery water without paying the necessary pro-rata charges or installing a water meter.
No one in the area was willing to say when the water line was connected.
When asked about it, Reddy said, “We are not receiving Cauvery water in our area though they are supposed to supply it on alternate days. We are relying on tanker water. I am ready to pay the necessary charges and get the regular connection.”
BWSSB engineer-in-chief T Venkatraju said, “In order to avoid cutting roads frequently, we have drawn water lines till the compound walls of 1,40,000 buildings, including MLA Satish Reddy’s building, and 60,000 building owners have already taken water connections by paying the pro-rata and other charges. I won’t know if Satish Reddy has taken the connection unless I get it verified.”
To get a water connection legally, a building owner has to pay pro-rata charges, Greater Bangalore Water and Sanitation Project (GBWASP) charges and meter charges. Pro-rata charges are calculated on the basis of the built-up area of the building and varies from area to area in the city.
The BWSSB charges a pro-rata amount of Rs 160 per 100 sqft for residential buildings, Rs 200 for apartment complexes and Rs 300 for commercial buildings.
GBWASP’s charges are fixed according to the dimension of the site in which the building is constructed. Owners also have to pay Rs 1,000 as meter charges at the time of taking the water connection.
As Reddy’s palatial house is situated in a very big site, he will have to pay lakhs to take a proper water connection besides paying the water charges, which go up with increasing consumption.