Even as the Bidhannagar municipality has started sending water tax bills, peeved residents of the township are contemplating legal action against the authorities’ “irrational and illogical” method of billing.
Members of Bidhannagar House Owners’ Association (BHOA) have staged a demonstration and are also planning to launch a joint operation with their counterparts in the city, the All Calcutta House Owners’ Association (ACHOA).
The bi-monthly water tax bill of Bidhannagar Municipality, which has to come to effect since last February, calculates water charges on the basis of the annual property tax.
“We have started sending the bills from last week,” Dilip Gupta, chairman of Bidhannagar Municipality, said. Civic body officials said the bills have been prepared in accordance with a state government directive and 1,500 consumers have already submitted the amount.
However, the bills were greeted with protests. “We are planning to take legal action,” said B.P. Saha, president of BHOA. According to K. Sengupta, an executive body member of the association, the method of billing is irrational.
“This does not take into account the amount of water consumed,” he explained.
The association has demanded the installation of water meters to record the volume of water consumed. “We have demanded that until the water metres are installed, the bill be calculated on the basis of the ferrule-size,” an association member said. However, official sources said it was difficult to get water metres in bulk for residential consumers.
BHOA members have also held talks with the ACHOA. ACHOA general secretary Sheikh Anizur Haq said: “This is a common problem and legal action is the only way out.”
Many parts of Salt Lake continue to reel under water crisis. Several blocks in Sectors I, II and III, as well as housing estates like Labony and Purbachal, are facing a water crisis.
“Every year, we go through a water scarcity from March to June,” said Amitabha Chatterjee, secretary of Purbachal’s Cluster 11 cooperative. “We have to go without water for nearly 10 hours at a stretch in summer. Several complaints have been lodged with the municipality, but in vain,” he said. However, Tapan Talukdar, chairman-in-council in charge of water supply, claimed there was no water crisis in the township.