Bhayandar: The Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC) spends crores of rupees each year to replace old pipelines, overhauling existing network and to enhance water supply in the twin-city, however the metering and billing mechanism continues to remain outdated.
While the twin-city, which has 34,194 residential and 2,770 commercial metered connections, is still waiting for its full-fledged lab to check the faulty meters, hapless consumers are ending up with exorbitant bills due to faulty water meters, prompting the civic administration to rely on average readings.
Even as bill amounts for the current year have mysteriously shot up by more than 20 percent, an impending hike in water taxes in the upcoming budget will further lead to a steep hike from April this year. Eight years after the proposal mooting MBMC’s own Water Meter Test Lab was cleared by the general body, the project is yet to take shape, exposing the unwilling attitude of civic officials in keeping a tab on the accountability of water supply. While the faulty meters pump additional cash flow into the civic coffers, bills generated on an average consumption basis is burning holes into the pocket of the users.
“With augmentation of water supply to 175 MLD, the frequency has been reduced from once in 45-50 hours to once in 24-30 hours which apparently leads to higher usage, thus the rise in bill amounts. We are already into the process of setting up a test lab in Mira Road which will end the faulty meter issue,” said Executive Engineer, Suresh Vakode.
With no mechanism available with the MBMC repair or replace the faulty meters, users are forced to travel to Mumbai or Thane to get meters repaired with official test report needed to recommence regular billing on the basis of actual readings. It has been alleged that inflated bills raised on the basis of assessments for defective meters acts as a façade to conceal a huge quantum of unaccounted water.