Saturday, June 26, 2010

No water? Harvest rains

No water? Harvest rains
BWSSB serves notice on the owner of a 30x40 site asking him to install rain water harvesting system after he refused to bribe one of its officials

Raising your voice against water woes could land you in trouble! That is precisely what has happened to businessman Subash Chandra. He has been slapped with a notice directing him to install a rain water harvesting (RWH) system at his house though it is not mandatory for buildings constructed on a 30x40 plot.
A resident of Ganesha Block 4th Cross in R T Nagar, Chandra terms it “an act of vengeance by the local BWSSB employees for his refusal to pay them bribe and for complaining to their higher-ups about the water problems in the area.”
“The government has made it clear that RWH systems are mandatory only for sites measuring above 40x60 dimensions and new constructions. We have constructed our house in 1980 and it is on a 30x40 plot. The local BWSSB men came to our house recently and ascertained the dimension of our house. Yet a notice was sent to us stating that we should install a RWH system,” Chandra told Bangalore Mirror.
None of Chandra’s neighbours, who have also constructed houses on 30x40 plots, have received such notices. “They have singled us out and are trying to harass us,” said Chandra.
Chandra suspects it to be the handiwork of the BWSSB official who records the readings of the water meters in the area as he refused to pay him the ‘extra money. “He took details from me regarding site measurement. He first asked me to change a running meter and demanded money, when I refused he has started this new trick,” he said.
What angered Chandra more was the second notice sent by the BWSSB last week. “I wonder how the assistant engineer (BWSSB) R T Nagar signed this notice sent to me despite my land records clearly stating that it is a 30x40 site. Is he an illiterate?” Chandra asked.
Chandra had also complained against the short supply of water to individual houses. “The local linemen supplies water to the apartments on a daily-basis and to individual houses on alternate days. I have complained to the BWWSB several times and they suggest us to opt for RWH,” Chandra said, adding that he suspected the role of contractor lobby in pushing for RWH systems.
Referring to a Bangalore Mirror report that highlighted that even the Mayor’s house did not have RWH, Chandra asked: “When the Mayor himself has not installed an RWH system, why are they tormenting ordinary citizens like us?”
Chandra has shot a mail to BWSSB chairman explaining how he was being targeted on the pretext of installing the RWH system. He has also suggested the BWSSB to first crackdown against illegal water connections and plug leakages in pipes before forcing citizens to spend money on RWH.
A BWSSB official, however, maintained that they will look into the issue.
The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage (Amendment Act), which came into effect on August 27, 2009, says: “Within nine months from the commencement of the Act every owner or occupier of a building with a sital area of 2,400 sq ft or above and every owner who propose to construct a building on a sital area of 1,200 sq ft and above shall provide for rain water harvesting structure, failing which the Board may cause such rain water havesting structure and recover the cost from the owner or occupier as the case may be, as arrears of land revenue.”
With the nine-month deadline completing last month and many huge properties in the city yet to install RWH, the BWSSB is left with little option than to slap notices to force property owners to act.


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