City Resident gets Rs 12 Lakh Water Bill for 3 Months? Public Raise Voice over Hefty Water Bills

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City Resident gets Rs 12 Lakh Water for 3 Months? Public Raise Voice over Hefty Water Bills

Mangaluru: The Mangaluru City Corporation (MCC) during the last council meeting decided to hold a special grievance meeting to resolve complaints related to excessive billing for the water supplied to homes in the city, and on 3 January the meeting was held where residents gathered in large numbers and raised voices on receiving hefty water bills. During the MCC Council meeting, MCC mayor Sudheer Shetty Kannur said that the grievance meeting will be held at the city corporation from 11 am on January 3. “Residents who have complaints regarding excessive water bills or faulty water meters may attend the grievances meeting to get their problems solved. The executive engineer, assistant executive engineer, bill inspectors and others will be available at the meeting, to rectify water supply, billing and meter issues,” the mayor said, in reply to the queries of corporators. The mayor also directed officials to inspect all faulty meters and replace them with new ones.

“After installing a new meter, a fresh bill should be issued by calculating the average amount of the past three months’ bill,” said the mayor. The opposition leader in the council Praveen Chandra Alva had raised the issue in the council meeting. “Some of the consumers have received bills to the tune of Rs 30,000 for their domestic water supply connections, which is three to four times more than their normal bills. Nearly 50 people visit the MCC office daily to rectify their problems with excessive water bills. Even after visiting the MCC office, their problems continue to persist,” he said.

Corporator Shashidhar Hegde said due to faulty water meters, the MCC is losing its revenue. “Multi-purpose workers (MPW) should be directed to issue water bills every month. While there are 90,285 water meters installed in the MCC limits, 12,500 water meters are faulty and bills are issued with the message ‘meter not working’ (MNR),” he said, and demanded that the faulty meters should be repaired. Corporator AC Vinayaraj said that faulty water meters should be repaired within 15 days as per the bylaw. Corporator Lancelot Pinto said a resident in his ward received a water bill after 23 months. He also brought to the notice of the mayor about the water shortage crisis in his ward due to unscientific work being taken up. Assistant executive engineer Naresh Shenoy said that notices are served to residents on faulty water meters, to get it repaired or install a new one.

During the grievance meeting on 3 January, the public raised concern about receiving inflated water bills despite repairing water meters and reported not receiving water bills for the past couple of years, only to be presented with a hefty bill later. For instance, a resident in the ESI Hospital quarters expressed concern about receiving a water bill amounting to Rs 12 lakh, despite residing there for only three months. The parent of an ESI staff member mentioned that despite reaching out to the MCC from the hospital office, no corrective action has been taken regarding the bill.

A woman said that despite repeated applications submitted since 2009 to rectify an excessive water bill of Rs 40,000, no measures have been taken. Another person said that while constructing a house, a temporary permit was availed. After the house was constructed, a meter was installed, but she still received a water bill exceeding Rs 1 lakh. She urged for a prompt rectification of the bill. Manjunath expressed frustration over not receiving water bills for the last few months for the two water metres in his house. However, to his surprise, a hefty bill of Rs 9,000 was suddenly imposed.

Mayor Sudheer Shetty Kannur said that councillors raised concern about the irregular issuance of water bills to residents, and identified approximately 12,000 faulty water metres within the MCC limits. Stressing the need for immediate rectification, the mayor urged to address the loopholes in the water billing system. For the first time, a grievances redressal meeting is being organised to resolve the issues about water bills. Issues related to software were promptly addressed, and bills were rectified on the spot, during the grievances redressal meeting. A similar meeting to resolve water bill-related concerns is scheduled at the zonal office in Surathkal on January 10. The mayor said that plans are being made to conduct such grievance meetings every two months, to ensure problems are solved.

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