Calcutta High Court, in an interim order on Monday, allowed the Bidhannagar Municipality to collect water tax from residents for six weeks. But during this period, the authorities would have to plan the introduction of meters to ascertain the quantity of water used by the citizens. “The municipality will have to charge tax on the basis of the quantity of water it is supplying,” the order said.
The court order followed a petition filed by the Bidhannagar House-Owners’ Association challenging the validity of the water tax. The petitioners contended that the municipality was already taking water tax with property tax.
Appearing on behalf of the petitioner, Devi Pal and Shantanu Mitra told the court that introduction of separate water tax was illegal. They demanded that the tax be withdrawn immediately.
Counsel for the civic authorities, Manik Das, told the court that his client was taking water tax with the property tax against supply of a certain quantity of water. “The municipality wants to charge more for more consumption of water,” he said.
Municipality chairman Dilip Gupta later said that the civic body had already decided to fit meters in residential houses. “A Chinese company has been entrusted to supply the meters,” he said. K.S. Sengupta, an executive committee member of the petitioners’ association, said the citizens were ready to pay the tax but the basis of the calculation should be rational.