Patna, Jan. 17: Need to apply for a fresh water connection? Get ready to step into a vicious trap of agents working in collusion with the Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) employees.
People visiting the Patna branch of Jal Parshad of PMC to apply for water connections can form an idea as to why the departments are often referred to as dens of corruption.
The Jal Parshad officials and employees concerned suggest the easy way out — getting an illegal connection or better still opt for their own boring done by the agents.
Sources in PMC told The Telegraph the initial charge of a water connection is Rs 1,400. “However, when people approach the Jal Board officials, they tell customers that getting a legal connection would be full of hassles, so they can get an illegal connection by paying about Rs 5,000 at one go. In that case, they do not have to pay 2 per cent of the property tax as water charges annually to the PMC. There is a nexus between those in boring business and the Jal Parshad employees,” explained a PMC employee, on the condition of anonymity.
He attributed it as the primary reason behind PMC’s failure to give 90,000 connections in the capital, which has over 5 lakh households in corporation and urban areas.
Residents complained though the water supply system infrastructure was weak, the corruption in Jal Parshad aggravated the situation. “For the past several years, there has been absolutely no improvement in the water supply system and thousands of people get illegal connections but getting a legal connection is tough. If the government and the corporation are keen on improving the situation, they should put the system in place,” said Rameshwar Chand, a resident of Kankerbagh.
Officials said Bihar Rajya Jal Parshad is responsible for designing and implementing the water supply infrastructure in the capital. The operation and maintenance of the systems are undertaken by PMC. The city has high dependability on groundwater sources with 89 tubewells drawing about 375 mld water. Of the total water drawn, 40 per cent is lost during transit.
PMC commissioner Manish Kumar claimed that situation would be different in coming months. “We will crack down on the water mafia if they exist. Our plan is to connect every household in the city with a proper water supply connection. Every house will have a biometric water meter and they will have to pay accordingly,” said Kumar.
Kumar said after implementation of the Rs 426-crore ambitious drinking water project, the PMC would be in a position to provide 135 litres per capita of water every day to all residents.