The West Bengal Municipal (Levy of Fee for Supply of Water)
Urbanization and growing of urban population is an ever-growing process, and with this the demand of civic services in the urban areas are also multiplying. In the socio-economic condition of our country it is not possible to realize the cost of all such services, provided by the local body, in full from the urban population. In this situation the Municipalities are providing or trying to provide such services from the fund they hold and the grants allotted to them by the Government. Now due to prevailing financial limitations it is not possible for the Municipalities to keep pace with the growing demand of civic services. In this situation it was felt that if the Municipalities fail to realize at least the Operation & Maintenance Charges for providing the water supply service, the said most important sector of public service shall fail to meet the future need of the growing urban population, and such heavy financial burden shall ultimately cause break down of such service. Keeping in view of this reality the rule have been made by the State Government in order to impose water charges.
In terms of amended provisions of section 226 of the West Bengal Municipal Act, 1993 the water for domestic uses and the supply of water for non-domestic uses may be charged for at such scale of fees or price as may be prescribed. Accordingly the West Bengal Municipal (Levy of fee for Supply of Water) Rules, 2002 has been prepared for dealing with the matters regarding supply of water and other related matters under section 226 & 231 of the West Bengal Municipal Act, 1993.
The salient features of the draft are as follows:
Prescribing procedure for submission of application.
Segregation of water supply in clear three categories, i.e. domestic, non-domestic and under non-domestic supply bulk supply.
In the case of domestic connections the connection charge for a single tap connection is Rs. 3000/-, and that for a multiple tap connection is Rs. 5000/-. As the non-domestic or bulk consumers shall take the connection according to their requirement, and the Municipality should determine the rates for the purpose.
A system for taking deposit of interest free security money has been introduced, which shall be refunded to the consumer after settlement of accounts between the consumer and the Municipality. In the case of domestic connections the security deposit for a single tap connection has been proposed to Rs. 1000/-, and that for each additional tap connection to Rs. 200/- per tap. The Municipality may determine the rate of security deposit for non-domestic and bulk consumers.
A time period of 60 days has been fixed, from the date of receipt of an application by the Municipality, for either granting or refusing or seeking further related documents from the applicant.
A separate part has been included for determining the manner of water supply to the non-domestic or bulk consumers.
Provisions have been made for providing water supply through road taps in the places like Hospital compound, places of worship, places of pilgrimage, tourist spots, bus stands, markets, localities having buildings of low valuation including slum areas, free of charge. Apart from this rule empowers the Municipality to exempt, in part or full, the educational institutions, holdings exclusively used for public charity or medical relief or education of the poor free of charge, Social Welfare Homes run by the State Government, as well as the persons affected by natural calamity from the purview of the water charge for supply of water.