The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has declared that Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’ official bungalow has defaulted on payment of water dues, The Times of India reported on Monday. The bungalow, named “Varsha”, has defaulted on bills worth Rs 7,44,981 so far, a Right to Information query has revealed.
The RTI query, filed by activist Shakeel Ahmed, also showed that 17 other Maharashtra Cabinet ministers have not paid their water bills over the past several years. This includes Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar’s “Devgari” bungalow that has defaulted on Rs 4,45,055 in water bills, Transport Minister Diwakar Rawte’s “Meghdoot” bungalow that failed to pay bills worth Rs 1,61,719 and Pankaja Munde’s bungalow that has defaulted on bills worth Rs 35,033, News18 reported. Some of the bills have been pending since 2001.
“If the bills of chief minister’s and other state minister’s bungalows are not paid in time, then how can you expect common people to do it?” the RTI activist said. “If the common people fail to pay their bills, their water connection is disconnected. The same should be done to all the defaulters, including chief minister’s official bungalow.”
The BMC, meanwhile, has increased water charges in Mumbai by 2.48%. Currently, users pay the BMC Rs 5.22 per thousand litres of water. In slums, the water charges are Rs 4.33 per thousand litres.
On June 19, reports had said that the water stock in the seven lakes that supply water to Mumbai dipped to 6.1% of the total capacity, the lowest in three years. The useful water stock in Upper Vaitarna stood at zero, while it was at 0.9% in Bhatsa lake.