Residents fleeced for new water connections

People living in areas added newly to the BBMP, complain they are being fleeced for getting a BWSSB connection under the new Cauvery Water Supply Scheme Stage IV Phase II. Many claim they are being overcharged by plumbers and contractors in the name of pro- rata charges, labour fee and road cutting and relaying charges for the new water and sanitary connections.

“The labourers who came with the contractors in the area asked for Rs 6,000 as labour fee. This is apart from the cost of the pipes I need to buy. I also have to pay the BCC amount," said Mr Ramakanth KS, a resident of Dasarahalli, claiming that some of the local officials of the BWSSB were colluding with the plumbers to give consumers an exaggerated estimate of the cost of a connection.

“The issue is not about paying a huge sum for my connection, but the confusion caused over how much I need to pay in the absence of fixed charges,” said Mr Arun Shetty of Nagarbhavi. The residents point out that besides the fixed connection fee of Rs 2,040, they need to pay a labour fee, which has not been specified by the BWSSB as it depends on the type of work done. The pro rata charges also differ for every consumer based on the plot size, built up area, number of floors, violation of building norms, and so on.

Engineer-in-Chief of the BWSSB, T Venkataraju, however, says its not possible to specify a fixed amount for all the work involved. “There are 78 components, all of which might not be applicable to every consumer. So the fee varies. For example, the road cutting charges differ based on the kind of road it is (whether concrete, asphalt or mud) and the length that needs to be cut. The cost of pipe that a consumer needs to pay for will vary accordingly. Pro rata charges, obviously, vary,” he explained, when contacted.

“We have received many complaints that plumbers and contractors have asked for extra money. I appeal to all consumers to ask for a demand estimate of cost in writing from the plumber. They must ask for the list of all the works involved and the break-up of cost for each. When they pay any money, they must insist on getting receipt for the payment. Do not get any work done by a person who does not hove an identity card issued by the BWSSB," he emphasised.

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