illegal water connections twice the legal ones in jalna

AURANGABAD: The Jalna civic administration was in for a shock to find that as many 30,000 water supply connections in the city as against 16,000 legal connections. The civic body has appointed a 12-member squad to trace, disconnect and regularize such connections.

The municipal corporation stumbled this factor only after it started supplying water only alternate day, from May 1, after a gap of several years.

Jalna, around 60 km from here, is the worst drought-hit district in the state. It started receiving regular water supply through the 88-km lwater pipeline from the Jayakwadi reservoir recently. The administration heaved a sigh of relief, which did not last long, because it stumbled upon the fact that the city has more than 30,000 illegal water connections in the city, compared to only 16,000 legal water connections.

According to the Jalna Municipal Council (JMC) records, the city has around 45, 000 properties registered with its property tax department. However, there are only 16, 220 domestic water tap connections registered with the water tax department. The number of commercial connections is merely 50. Interestingly, the JMC records state that there are no civic water connections given to the industrial areas.

JMC chief officer Babasaheb Manohare told TOI, "We are shocked to learn that there are more than 30,000 illegal water connections in the city. We have found out the number by conducting a random survey and calculating the number of properties in the city registered with the property tax department. Although the JMC record states that there are 45, 000 properties in the city, the actual number of property is very high. All the properties have at least one water connection. We can say that the number of illegal water connections in the city is well above 30,000."

If the JMC sources are to be believed, the civic administration has managed to achieve a pitiable 11.32 per cent of the given water tax collection target for the year 2012-13. The JMC charges Rs 806/ annum for domestic water supply connection and Rs 3218/ annum for commercial water supply.

A JMC source said, "The target for recovering water tax in the last fiscal was set at Rs 1.30 crores. Out of which, Rs 5 crores were of outstanding. But the JMC recovered an amount of just Rs 38.42 lakh. The outstanding water tax alone in the 2012-13 fiscal has remained at Rs 24.33 Lakh."

With only 12 men at hand to detect and severe illegal connections of the people often shielded by the local corporators because of vote-bank politics, the chief officer has decided to offer regularization of the illegal connections at a one-time payment of Rs 4,600.

Manohare said running the new water supply scheme was a big challenge for Jalna, as it will require at least Rs 40 lakh to pay power bills for keeping the water pumps functional along the 88-km water pipeline.

Source - TOI -