Bal Thackeray, Sachin Tendulkar, Samajwadi Party’s Abu Azmi, and family members of former Maharashtra chief minister AR Antulay are in
the list of BMC’s water bill defaulters.
The BMC is still to recover more than Rs1,000 crore from over 200,000 defaulters as on January 16, 2014. The civic body recently uploaded the list on its website, following an order from the state information commissioner (SIC).
As reported in dna on December 11, 2013, state information commissioner Ratnakar Gaikwad had on December 6 instructed municipal chief Sitaram Kunte to publish names of water bill defaulters on the BMC’s official website www.mcgm.gov.in
The order was given under section 4(1) (B) of Right to Information Act, 2005 after public information officer (PIO) attached to BMC’s F-North ward (covering areas like Matunga, Sion) denied to share details sought by a Wadala resident, Jaiprakash Gupta
According to the order, the defaulters’ list will remain in public domain till January 30.
“The list has been prepared based on information received from 24 ward offices. It has the names of all defaulters — commercial, industrial and domestic,” a civic official said.
On being asked if the BMC would crack down on defaulters/relatives, including the ‘big four’, the official said action would be taken based on the amount to be cleared. “During every billing cycle, we prepare a list of top 100 or 500 defaulters. Action is taken against anyone featuring in this list,” the official said.
Despite repeated attempts, Tendulkar or Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray or his son Aditya could not be contacted.
Azmi, however, insisted he pays all bills regularly and there was no chance of any pending dues for his Gulf Hotel in Colaba. Moazzam Kafi, manager of the hotel, said there were no pending dues. “We have requested the BMC to give us a new connection tapping a pipeline passing from the area. Accordingly, we cleared all dues six months ago. The BMC put the matter in the disputed category. Until a connection is given, we are not supposed to get any bill since it is disputed,” Kafi said. “If the document shows any pending dues, we will have to check it up with the BMC.”
When dna called up Antulay’s son Naveed, who is named in the list, someone named Deepak, who did not reveal his full name, said Naveed was not available. He, however, said: “We pay all bills on time. But if the BMC says there are dues, we will clear it by Wednesday.”
The bill cycle
The BMC issues water bills in two cycles, monthly and quarterly. Consumers, whose bills are above Rs15,000 per month on average, get bills after 30 days. Mostly, commercial and industrials consumers fall in this category
Take your bills seriously: Prior to April 2001, the BMC would give defaulters three days after the due date to clear all dues. The BMC disconnected the water supply of those who failed to clear the dues. Now, according to officials, a water bill is itself a notice. If one doesn’t pay within the stipulated 45 days, he/she is liable to face action.