Tribune News Service
Amritsar, February 23
Despite Rs35 crore set as a target to achieve as water and sewerage bills, the Operations and Maintenance (O&M) wing of the MC has collected only Rs11.53 crore so far. Only a few weeks are left for the fiscal year to end but it seems that the Operations and Maintenance wing would not be able to touch the previous year’s collection figure till March 31.
Last year, the Operations and Maintenance wing had collected Rs14 crore as water and sewerage bills. The department witnessed a shortfall of Rs2.5 crore as compared to last year. Ironically, the department has Rs27 crore to collect as pending arrears of previous years.
Officials of the department claimed that the recovery of revenue collection dipped during the Covid-19 pandemic. There are several other major flaws in the water sewerage bill recovery system as there were only 65,000 consumers in the record of the MC but the actual number of consumers was around four times higher. A large number of connection holders are using the services without any consent and without fulfilling the legal provisions which are required for using the services. At present, the MC is sending water and sewerage bills to around 30,000 connection holders out of the total 2.30 lakh consumers.
During the current financial year, the MC has set a target of collecting around Rs35 crore as dues from consumers. According to information, there is high potential in water and sewerage bills to enhance the revenue of MC but the mismanagement on the department level poses a major hurdle to bill recovery.
Mahesh Khanna, Chairman, Committee on water and Sewerage of MC, said, “We are making efforts to collect at least Rs14 crore this year too. Hopefully, we will collect this amount till March 31. I have written to the Commissioner and the Mayor to investigate illegal water and sewerage connections and take measures to regularise illegal connections to enhance the revenue.”
Property tax wing sealed properties
A team of property tax wing, led by East Zone Superintendent Dharminder Jeet Singh and Inspector Chandar Mohan, sealed six commercial establishments on Sultanwind Road, Jahajgarh Market and Vallah Road to press the defaulters to pay property tax. Superintendent Dharminderjit Singh said despite sending notices, the property owners were not paying pending amount. The shops would be allowed to open only after the payment of tax.
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