Wednesday, Oct 05, 2022 | Last Update : 05:50 AM IST

  Government departments owe BMC crores in water taxes

Government departments owe BMC crores in water taxes

Published : May 3, 2016, 1:37 am IST
Updated : May 3, 2016, 1:37 am IST

Defaulters owe the Brihanmumbai Municpal Corporation Rs 1,321.47 crore in unpaid water taxes. The arrears for the year from March 2015 to March 2016 alone amount to Rs 158.21 crore.

Defaulters owe the Brihanmumbai Municpal Corporation Rs 1,321.47 crore in unpaid water taxes. The arrears for the year from March 2015 to March 2016 alone amount to Rs 158.21 crore. The list of those who haven’t paid their water taxes includes a veritable who’s who of government organisations and institutions: the Western and Central Railways, the Mumbai Collectorate, the Office of the Commissioner of Police, KEM Hospital, Nair Hospital, Indian Airlines, Maharashtra Housing and Development Authority, MMRDA, Bombay Port Trust, J.J. School of Art, and the Veterinary College at Elphinstone Road, among others. The largest proportion of defaults, amounting to Rs 952.51 crore, are under the “domestic” category, implying that the bulk of bills not paid are of residential properties, including those inhabited by senior government officials. “It is easier to deal with private defaulters in comparison with the government bodies. As water tax arrears are linked to the property, no sale or redevelopment can happen without clearing previous dues. However, there is no such provision for recovery from government property,” an official from the hydraulics department, who declined to be identified, said.

According to additional municipal commissioner Sanjay Mukherjee, “The normal practice is to send out three notices. Otherwise the tax is recovered by attaching it to property tax, and auctioning the property. But this is a coercive measure and we normally don’t use it.”

For government organisations, the SC has issued directives to recover the dues cordially, Mr Mukherjee said. The BMC currently gets no revenue from 27 per cent of its water, which is lost to leakages and theft. It is trying to curb this loss. As a long-term measure, the BMC is working on a new software to make its water tax collection process more robust and foolproof. The software, which is in its formative stage, will generate electronic bills on the spot and facilitate door-to-door tax collection.