An RTI application has revealed that an unholy nexus between the officials of the BMC and builders has resulted in the civic body suffering losses to the tune of Rs100 crore.
Activist Anil Galgali had lodged a complaint with the BMC alleging that due to the nexus, the civiv officials are not recovering extra water and additional sewerage charges before issuing the CC (Commencement Certificate) for the building — which has caused a loss of Rs100 crore to the civic body.
Galgali, chairman of NGO Athak Seva Sangh had written a letter to the municipal commissioner Sitaram Kunte on September 06, 2013, highlighting how the loopholes in the improvised water charges rule is resulting in losses to the BMC revenue.
Kunte had then ordered an enquiry, under which the water supply department and the sewerage deparment started scrutinizing the building proposals in the water and building proposal dept and recovered Rs19.60 crore.
Galgali received a reply from the water supply and sewage department's chief accountant HM Nikam, stating that on May 27, 2014, that they have recovered Rs19.60 crore from 250 connections in various wards.
The highest amount recovered in P North Ward was Rs 6,59,75,884. The corporation also recovered Rs3,89,01,167 from S ward, Rs2,34,43,019 from H West Ward, Rs1,26,79,167 from E Ward and Rs1,15,64,521 from D ward.
The MCGM's Hydraulic deparment had modified the rules for levying water charges, which came into force on June 16, 2012.
As per rule 1.1 of the new rules, while considering new building proposals, the BMC was supposed to levy Rs475 per sq mtr as charges for extra water supply for additional construction and as charges for additional and basement construction area. It was also proposed to recover 60 % as sewerage charges.
The said conditions were included in the Intimation Of Disapproval (IOD) issued for the project.
However, the officials never ensured that the conditions of IOD were fulfilled while issuing the CC. "The conditions were never complied with at the behest of officials who are hand in glove with the builders for their mutual benefit," alleged Galgali.
Galgali had expressed apprehension that the losses could be to the tune of Rs100 crore and no action has been initiated against any official for the lapses.
He has written a letter to Kunte demanding action against erring officials and also, further increase the intensity of the scrutiny, which will ensure recovery of the revenue.