Mumbai: The BMC's decision to increase water charges has received stiff opposition from Congress and the Samajwadi party. The Opposition parties have written a letter to the BMC administrator Iqbal Singh Chahal and demanded to withdraw the proposal or they will take it to the streets.
New charges from Dec 1
The BMC administrator recently approved the proposal and the new water charges will be implemented from December 1. Varsha Gaikwad, Mumbai Congress President said, "The hike in water charges is an injustice to the citizens already facing inflation. If the BMC administrator did not withdraw his decision to increase water charges, then we would take this fight against the BMC to the streets."
Ravi Raja, former Opposition leader in the BMC and senior Congress leader said, "Since there are no corporators, the decision is directly taken by the BMC administrator without considering public view. Even today, several parts of the city face water shortages and contamination. The BMC should first ensure that the citizens get sufficient water."
Raees Sheikh, MLA, Samajwadi party has also written a letter to the civic chief in which he said, "On one hand, the BMC is spending Rs. 1,700 crore on the beautification project and now they are trying to earn revenue from increasing water charges is an injustice to the citizens."
Tax rates hiked by 8% every year
In 2012, the BMC's Standing Committee gave rights to the administration to increase the water tax not more than at the rate of 8% every year. Accordingly, every year from June 16, the administration implements a water tax hike. But considering the Covid-19 pandemic, taxes were not changed in 2020-21 and 2021-22. The BMC supplies 3,900 million litres of water to the city daily.
The civic body spends thousands of crores of rupees every year on the maintenance of dams, water supply lines, water purification process and security of the dams. They charge different rates to different entities, where domestic users have to pay a nominal rate and relatively higher charges for industrial purposes and water selling companies.