Rainwater harvesting in doldrums

Amritsar MC collects security, but fails to do physical verification after completion of buildings

Rainwater harvesting in doldrums

Charanjit Singh Teja

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 27

Despite collecting security for installing rainwater harvesting system during approval of the building plans, the Amritsar Municipal Corporation doesn’t have any mechanism to check whether the building owners have set up the system or not after completion of the structure.

According to building bylaws, the MC collects Rs 20,000 as a security fee from every non-commercial building owner and Rs 50,000 from commercial establishments before the commencement of construction. As per the rule, a building owner should set up a rainwater harvesting system and recharge well as only after that he/she can claim the refund.

It’s a common practice among residents that they submit a security fee, but do not install the rainwater harvesting system. Moreover, a large number of residents don’t get their building plans approved.

Officials of the municipal town planning wing claimed that people who apply for the refund were limited. The MC does not have a proper data of the previous years related to number of building owners who deposited the security and number of individuals who claimed the refund.

As a result, the government’s effort to boost groundwater table, has failed to bring any change. A few years ago, the MC had planned to verify the existence of rainwater harvesting systems in the newly-constructed buildings, but there’s no development in this direction.

Davinder Singh, a builder, said cost of constructing a rainwater well was similar to the security fee. Instead of constructing wells to save rainwater, people prefer to give up their security fee. As there’s no check by civic body on the rainwater harvesting system, owners do not bother at all.”

Municipal Town Planner Narinder Sharma said, “We collect security from everyone and ask them to construct the rain harvesting system as it’s mandatory. There is no provision of penalty. A number of people have claimed refund of their security and we visit the building to check the system before refunding the amount. We don’t have a workforce to check every building, so people should install the rainwater harvesting system as it’s our collective responsibility to save and recharge groundwater.” 

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