Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Penalty waiver likely in newly added BBMP areas

Penalty waiver likely in newly added BBMP areas
S Lalitha
That the Greater Bangalore Water Supply Project to provide 100 MLD of water to the newly added BBMP areas has not taken off is stale news now.

With a new government in place, it has given rise to hope among the public that the penalty amount to be paid by those who have not paid for new water connections before the stipulated deadline, would be waived off.

The residents of Bommanhalli, Byatarayanapura, Dasarahalli, Krishnarajapuram, Mahadevapura, Rajarajeshwaringar, Yelahanka and Kengeri have been waiting for a long time for a decision to be arrived at. And it appears as if the BWSSB minister Katta Subramanya Naidu might make their wait worth it. In an interview to `Deccan Herald’, Naidu said that his ministry was closely examining the issue and would arrive at a decision shortly. “Don’t worry, a decision in favour of the public will definitely be taken,” he told the media at a briefing at T. K Halli later.

The nearly Rs 450-crore project, which was inaugurated in 2004, banked on collecting Rs.119.45 crores through Beneficiary Capital Contributions (BCC). The BCC scheme aimed at making citizens and business houses as stakeholders in the project so that the cost of investments could be met upfront. It was aimed at reducing the interest burden on the project. However, the response was not encouraging.

The BCC amounts to be paid ranged from Rs 5,000 to Rs 15,000 depending on the dimensions of the site. The government later announced a reduction in the amount. However, what really irked the public was the penalty amount imposed on those who had not paid the BCC before 1.8.2005. The penalty was levied till the month of December 2007. The amount was Rs 100 for a 30X40 site, Rs 200 for a 40x60 site and so on. So, the owner of a 30x40 site had to pay a penalty amount of Rs 2,900 in addition to the BCC amount. This was perceived as “a hefty penalty” by the vast majority and the applications for new water connections have reached a standstill. Since then, it has been a tussle between the BWSSB and citizens on this issue.

The BWSSB maintained that it was a government decision and it was helpless to revoke the decision. The long phase without a government ensured that no decision was taken and the project continued to lie in limbo.
It is with much hope that the residents are waiting for a decision to be taken on the penalty issue.

Only around 50,000 households out of the 5 lakh households in these areas have applied for the connections, which amounts to a mere one-tenth.


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