Telangana: Ordeal of a housing complex for getting a drinking water connection
TR. Madhavan | 07 Mar 2018

About 700 families residing in more than a decade and half old residential housing complex are facing severe water crunch for their day to day needs since last five years due depletion of groundwater level water pumped out from the existing borewells is insufficient and forced to buy water through tankers from private buyers to fill up the gap of supply.

To drill new bore wells several lakhs have been spent by the residents when the old ones gone dry. Apart from this problem, when the families moved into the complex about more than a decade back there was no piped drinking water lines in the locality. About six to seven years backs the drinking water main lines were laid by the authorities and connection charges levied by the metro waters per MSB rules found unaffordable by the residents. Till date the residents are forced depend on private drinking water suppliers. The residents have been requesting the previous governments before bifurcation of the State to provide metered drinking water connection by waiving off the connection charges. The representation was totally ignored and put the residents to dismay.

Our decade and half old residential complex got the basic amenities like, sewerage system, roads, streetlight, CCTV facility after MP Chevella considered their grievance and took up the issue with the concerned officials. The requisite amenities pending were provided. The residents have been consistently pursuing for drinking water connection, after MP Chevella wrote to Hon'ble Municipal Administration Minister, HMWSSB took steps and come forward for providing bulk supply connection.

The residents had applied for the connection and the Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Board Approved and submitted Final Feasibility Report, File No. 2017-5-516 dt: 28/6/2017. After several months wait the Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Board had given the Approved Intimation For Payment by GM (SWC) dt: 20/1/2018 - as per ED's Note No. 53/GM(E) SWC, dt: 16/1/2018 related our File No. 2017-5-516 dt: 28/6/ 2017. The order valid till 18/3/2018. After studying the clauses mentioned in the Intimation for Payment letter, which the residents felt unaffordable and wrote back to the board seeking clarification.

1. Water Supply Connection Charges for 357.50 KLD - Rs. 3575000.00 at what rate per kilo liter has been calculated and for how many days?

2. The Water Supply Connection Charges levy is refundable deposit or non refundable?

3. The Water Supply Connection Charges levy, Is it for any new infrastructure exclusively to be provided in our complex?

4. If it not for new exclusive infrastructure, non refundable and non adjustable in the monthly bills, why it is being collected in advance?

5. Our complex already has sewerage main lines and the works was executed recently by the GHMC Rajendranagar circle from the funds allocated by elected representatives of the constituency.The cost incurred for the infrastructure do we have to refund back the Sewerage Connection Charges of Rs. 2860000, to the Government/elected representatives constituency development fund through the Board?

6. Charges for Augmenting Source Rs. 7150000.00 and Water Supply Improvement Charges Rs. 850000, Is the Board going to provide exclusive main lines to maintain sufficient pressure and quantity promised per day from Rajendranagar filter bed to complex?

7. As the board is charging RWHS consultancy services charges of Rs. 715000, is the board going to undertake the RWHS works around all existing borewells in our complex?

8. In what way our complex will be benefitted by paying Green Brigade Charges of Rs. 100000?

9. To the reasons known to the GHMC Rajendranagar circle, the Occupancy Certificate has not been issued to our complex. As per point 9 of the Note provided do we have to pay 3 times more than the prescribed tariff for no fault of us?

10. It is being a domestic supply why the charges are more than the normal tariff applicable to MSBs?

B Vijay Kumar Reddy, Director (Revenue & UFW) wrote back - the following clarifications are here with furnished for the queries raised by you for your kind information.

1) The water supply connection charges are @ Rs.10,000/KLD as per the Gazette.

2) The water supply connection charges levied is non refundable.

3) For supplying of 357.50 KLD of water it needs to lay a separate pipeline for which the estimated cost of Rs. 8.50 Lakhs is levied.

4 & 6) The connection charges and charges for augmentation source are non refundable and non adjustable in monthly bills. It is pertinent to mention that Board has incurred huge investment towards bringing water from distant sources such as Krishna Phase river from 120 KMs with Rs. 2000 Crs and Godavari Phase-I from 186 KMs with Rs. 3000 Crs. The Board is collecting a very small portion of the huge cost incurred to bring water to the city as per standard norms.

5) The sewerage connection charges of Rs.28.6 Lakhs is levying as per the Gazette. As there is existing sewerage line no sewerage improvement charges are levied.

7) The Board do not take up any RWHS works in your complex. The amount levied is towards consultancy charges only and levied as per Board norms. The Board provides necessary guidance on construction and maintenance of RWH Structures in your complex if requested. However the charges levied under this head will be reviewed.

8) The Green Brigade charges of Rs.1 lakh is meant for providing 100 mm size connection from feeder main by taking up junction work through a Green Brigade Contractor of HMWSSB which includes road cutting and restoration charges.

9) HMWSSB do not levy three times the tariff in the monthly bills if the occupancy certificate issued by GHMC authorities is submitted. Hence in your case normal tariff will be applicable if Rajendranagar circle of GHMC has issued occupancy certificate to your complex.

10) The tariff is as per Gazette. Same tariff is applicable for all MSBs under Domestic category.

The residents sent a fresh representation via email on February 12, 2018, to the Hon'ble Chief Minister of Telangana marking a copy to Hon'ble Municipal Administration Minister and MP Chevella, stating, "The resident families most of them belonging to minority and linguistic minority groups once again placing our request before your government to provide metered drinking water connection, waiving off the connection charges as well as request the HMWSSB to take up Rain Water Harvesting which they are doing it free of cost if open area is available in the residential complex or locality. We, the residents have been requesting the previous governments to provide metered drinking water connection by waiving off the connection charges. The representation was totally ignored and put the residents to dismay. The residents do hope that, yourself and your government will find time to read the representations (sent in the attachment) as mentioned in the above references and humbly request to consider sympathetically our request and give us necessary reliefs on payment matters related to providing of water connection to quench the thirst and day to day needs as well as on property tax and Occupancy Certificate matter."

The residents are very much disheartened that, as they failed to get any response from the Head of the State Office or others whom the representations forwarded. The residents hope that by posting their grievance through this media may yield positive results. I hope after reading this grievance write-up the Telangana Government will quench the thirst of the residents.