The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Rule shift for legal tag on water, sewer lines

Resorting to desperate measures to mobilise additional resources, the civic authorities have decided to regularise water and drainage connections to illegally-constructed buildings for a fee.

Amendments to a set of civic rules will allow owners of new houses and flats to obtain water and sewer lines without producing occupancy certificates.

Mayor Subrata Mukherjee said there are over 200,000 unauthorised buildings and apartments in the city. Over the past two decades, these have obtained water and drainage connections by either greasing the palms of civic officers or influencing councillors, without producing any occupancy certificates.

“These people have enjoyed illegal water and drainage connections for a long time. Now, I will give them an opportunity to regularise the services. However, if they don’t pay the Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) even after this, we will snap the connections,” said Mukherjee. He hopes to mop up about Rs 50 crore from this regularisation.

For this, the CMC (Levy of Annual Fee for Supply of Water for Domestic Purposes) Regulations, 1986, need to be amended.

The decision to regularise water and drainage lines was taken at a mayoral council meeting last Tuesday and the proposal to amend the regulations was sent to the municipal affairs department for ratification.

In the proposed amendment, the CMC’s water supply and drainage and sewerage departments need not wait for the building department’s clearance for giving connections. Officers said once the proposed amendments are endorsed by the government, the CMC will issue a public notice. “House-owners can regularise their unauthorised water and drainage lines within the time-limit specified in the notice,” said an officer.

As proposed in the amendment, water supply connection fees will be between Rs 1,500 and Rs 6,000, depending on the size of the ferrule. Domestic supply is given through four different sizes of ferrule — 10 mm, 15 mm, 20 mm and 25 mm. The drainage link fees will be 80 per cent of the water connection fees.

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