BWSSB lifts ban on new water connections

The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) has lifted the ban and started issuing fresh connections to apartments.

This decision was taken soon after Katta, who was Bangalore Water Supply Minister, stepped down from the Cabinet following serious allegations that he had received a Rs 87-crore bribe from an IT firm in December last year. Law Minister S Suresh Kumar assumed the charge subsequently.

“We have started issuing fresh water supply and sanitary connections as per the direction of the government. Applications in this regard are being processed in all our divisions,” BWSSB Engineer-in-Chief T Venkat Raju said.

Katta announced the ban on new connections in May last year, citing water scarcity  as the reason. The ban, according to him, was to remain till December, this year. The BWSSB had, therefore, stopped processing all applications.

Normally, such decisions are taken by the board and are implemented only after obtaining the government’s approval. However, Katta had unilaterally imposed the ban.

Katta’s decision had drawn flak from all quarters, especially those buying new apartments.

Hundreds of upcoming apartments under the jurisdiction of the BWSSB (125 wards) were in limbo. Further, Katta had directed the BWSSB to forward all applications seeking new connections to his office.

As per the rule book, the engineer-in-chief has powers to sanction new connections for which the pro rata charge (development charges) is above Rs 5 lakh and below Rs 10 lakh. The chairman has the powers to sanction all connections for which the pro rata charge is above Rs 10 lakh. Normally, any connection with above Rs 5 lakh pro-rata charge falls under the “multi-storeye category.”

The BWSSB receives an average 200 applications for new connections every month. The main source of drinking water for Bangalore is the Cauvery river. The BWSSB has been pumping 860 million litre per day (MLD) of water every day from the river to Bangalore. The water board is now implementing Cauvery IV stage II phase project to pump additional 500 MLD of water. The project is expected to be completed by this year-end.

Fact file:
* Ban on sanctioning fresh water connections to apartments lifted
* BWSSB starts issuing new connections
* Katta had announced the ban till Dec 2011 unilaterally, without any official order

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