Heavy penalty for water theft

If BWSSBs draft bill is approved, offenders may face imprisonment
Last Updated 22 October 2009, 18:28 IST

The State Cabinet, on Thursday, gave its nod to introduce the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage and Certain Other Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2009. The draft bill will have to be introduced in the State Legislature Session, said Minister V S Acharya while briefing the media after the Cabinet meeting.

The draft bill aims at amending the BWSSB Act, 1964, the Karnataka Municipal Corporation Act, 1976 and Karnataka Ground Water (Regulation for Protection of Sources of Drinking Water) Act, 1999 to give more authority for the board.

The draft says a new section will be inserted (108A) to penalize people who indulge in stealing of water. Whoever dishonestly obtains water supply through illegal connection or tampers meter or uses tampered meter resulting in non-recording or wrong recording of consumption of water or damages or destroys water meter so as to prevent accurate meter reading, will be punished with imprisonment for a maximum of three years or with fine or with both.

The draft also says that those employees of the Board and licensed plumbers who abets water theft will also attract punishment as those who indulge in water theft.

Whoever, in any case in which a penalty is not expressly provided by this Act, fails to comply with any rules or by-laws of the Board, will be punished with imprisonment which may extend to six months or with fine up to Rs 5,000 or both, the draft says.

The proposed bill authorises the board to insist building owners, occupiers and builders to adopt water conservation methods like rainwater harvesting and recycling of waste water for non-potable and potable purposes.

 When the new Act comes into effect, every owner or occupier of a structure who fails to pay the assessed prorata charges will be liable to pay a penalty up to 25 pc of the prorata charges. This is in addition to the other penalty.

The draft further says that no structure will be allowed to be erected and no street be constructed over the Board's water main. Even where structure is built near a pipeline there should be a minimum clearance of one meter or half the diameter of the pipeline.
The cabinet gave its approval to spend Rs 442 crore from its kitty for the fourth phase drinking water supply project in Bangalore.

The project has been taken up at a cost of Rs 3,383 crore, the loan borrowed by Japan International Cooperation Agency. “The government has estimated that the project cost may escalate by Rs 442 crore. The same will be borne by the state,” Acharya said.

(Published 22 October 2009, 18:28 IST)

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