BWSSB contractors demand huge sums to re-link houses with new drains

City residents, already troubled by the dug-up roads to replace the underground drains, had a rude shock when contractors asked for money to link the connection to their houses.

Sign boards are placed closer to the labyrinth of hollowed-out streets, informing residents that the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board is replacing the Underground Drains (UGD), but there is no mention of paying the contractors to link their drainage lines back to the newly laid system.

"They've dug up the place and laid the new UGD lines, but they demand money from the senior citizens residing here to connect their independent houses to the UGD," Shankar  Poti, a resident at Defence Colony in Indiranagar, said. "This is totally unregulated."

There are instances where the contractors - or labourers working for them - severe the water connection to make sure they get the money, Poti said.

They ask for Rs 5,000 to connect the houses to the drains, but the amount could vary,   depending on the area. Commercial establishments are asked to pay Rs 18,000 to connect their premises. It is usual for contractors to strike up an understanding with the residents.

The money a contractor collects from each resident in a neighbourhood would be far more than the sums paid for the work given to him through a tender process.

Former deputy mayor S Harish raised serious objections to the unregulated payments. "I ensure that not a single penny is paid for the contractors for the work," he said. "Ãt's the BWSSB's responsibility to ensure that the contractor completes the work within the tender conditions and doesn't harass the residents. Without such conditions, the work shouldn't be awarded."

BWSSB, chief engineer (maintenance), H M Ravindra said house service connections are not part of the tender condition.

"Residents can pay a nominal charge for connecting their drainage outlets with the newly laid underground lines," he said. "Ãf the contractor demands more, they can alert the local BWSSB engineers. But it's a practice that we don't include house service connections in the contract."

Ravindra did not specify the precise "nominal" amount residents should pay to the contractors.

BoX

Water woes  

* Contractors demand Rs 5,000 or Rs 18,000 at many places

* Cut water connection to ensure payment

* Ex-deputy mayor objects to harassment of residents

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