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Drive to collect water charge
- SMC says Rs 3.5-crore dues

Siliguri, Sept. 6: The Siliguri Municipal Corporation deputy mayor, Ranjan Silsharma, today said the water supply department would conduct a drive within a month to recover dues of around Rs 3.5 crore that had been pending since 1994.

Silsharma said he had reached the estimate of dues after going through SMC’s records from the time of its creation. He said records available with the SMC were sketchy.

“After taking charge of the water service department in July this year, I came to know that the total dues of the department is Rs 3.5 crore. No record is maintained on the total number of connections, dues and applications for new water connections,” said Silsharma.

“I have ordered department officials to prepare a comprehensive database with updated information on the number of water connections. We expect to have it ready within a month. After this we will start a collection drive to obtain the outstanding service charge from the residents,” he said.

An SMC source said the department at present provided water to around 21,500 homes and business establishments in all its 47 wards.

The total population of the wards is over 7 lakh.

There are also allegations of pilferage of water from stand posts in different wards and theft of water taps causing water wastage, the source added.

The SMC also has elaborate plans to remove encroachments from different areas of the city to widen roads and facilitate hassle-free movement of vehicles.

“An eviction drive to clear encroachments started last night. Yesterday, we removed 21 shanties from Mahabirstan, where they had mushroomed under a flyover. Similar drives will be conducted in other parts of Siliguri also,” Silsharma said.