SOVAN CHATTERJEE, mayor-in-council member (water) and Trinamul Congress councillor of ward no.132, met readers of The Telegraph last week at his office on S.N. Banerjee Road. Participants included Susanta Ghosh (councillor of ward no. 120 and chairman, Borough XIII), Javed Ahmed Khan (mayor-in-council member (health) and councillor of ward no. 66), Ratan De (councillor of ward no. 93), Arup Biswas (councillor of ward no. 81 and chairman, Borough X), Debasish Kumar (councillor of ward no. 85), Pradipta Biswas, Abir Chakraborty, Sadhan Kumar Bose, Sarthak Ganguly, Tarun Chakraborty and Tapan Sarkar
Arup Biswas: Mineral water produced by some multinationals contains bacteria harmful to health. Is there no check to this'
Actually, this is the state health departmentís jurisdiction. However, if asked, we will provide the necessary information to the department.
Debasish Kumar: Will water tax be imposed'
I should say that no new tax on water will be imposed.
Debasish Kumar: Mains pass through my ward but we donít get filtered water.
I shall ask my officers to sort out the problem.
Debasish Kumar: In our borough, pockets like Aripota and Makaltala have no deep tubewells. There are only some shallow tubewells.
The CMDA brought a number of places into the city fold. To supply water to these pockets, both the mayor and I submitted projects of Rs 100 crore to the state government. Till today, nothing has come of it. However, we are pursuing the matter.
Sadhan Kumar Bose: A lot has been done to develop the slums. Yet, some slums arenít supplied with water.
Scarcity of water in slums is a story of the past. But still, please report if any slum is not supplied with water. We will take instant action.
Sadhan Kumar Bose: In some areas, rich residents instal ferrules of large diameter by bribing the CMC employees.
What you say is quite distressing. If any such case comes to anyoneís notice, please report it immediately so that proper action can be taken.
Tarun Chakraborty: We residents of Old Dog Race Course in Behala do not get water from the CMC, though we pay rent to the government.
I have talked to municipal affairs minister Asok Bhattacharya so that the tax for water can be collected along with the rent.
Tapan Sarkar: Citizens are confused about the water tax dispute within your party.
Frankly, there is no dispute within our party. We do not plan to tax the poor and there is no plan to impose fresh water tax.
Tapan Sarkar: Your tubewell department takes a long time to repair a tubewell.
Actually, last year, for about two months, no work could be done because of a shortage of material.
Tapan Sarkar: Big organisations, including some hotels, did not pay taxes for long.
After taking over the civic board, we asked the hotels to pay at least the original dues. In this way, we collected about Rs 142 crore. If anybody does not pay the minimum tax, how can the CMC offer him amenities' The grace period is now over. Every defaulter will have to pay his penalty with interest.
Tapan Sarkar: In some buildings, tenants pay their rent regularly. But still, their water connections are cut off.
In Calcutta, there are some buildings that are fully rented out. The owner of the building collects the rent but does not pay the taxes. In that case, amenities will have to be disconnected.
Abir Chakraborty: We residents of ward no. 111 are supplied water from a deep tubewell. But if the electricity goes off, we are left deprived.
Actually, ward no. 111 is an added area. I will see that it gets a steady supply of water.