The Maharashtra Chief Minister’s official residence, as well as bungalows of several senior Ministers, owe the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) nearly ₹8 crore in water bills, and the corporation has included these properties in its defaulters’ list. The information was revealed in response to a Right to Information (RTI) query. Meanwhile, the government has clarified that dues were paid till November and the rest will be paid immediately.
The BMC has thousands of crores pending in water tax from defaulters across the city, many of whom are government organisations. It has now come to light that the Public Works Department, which maintains government bungalows of all State Ministers located in and around Malabar Hill, owes the BMC around ₹8 crore.
According to data procured by RTI activist Shakeel Shaikh, the Chief Minister’s official bungalow Varsha has six water connections. The property has ₹7.44 lakh in water tax pending since last year. The outstanding amount reflects in the May water bill.
The other bungalows that have defaulted on water tax include those of Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar, Education Minister Vinod Tawde, Housing Minister Prakash Mehta, Women and Child Development Minister Pankaja Munde, Tribal Development Minister Vishnu Savra, Water Resources Minister Girish Mahajan, among others. They too have dues since last year. The Sahyadri guest house at Malabar Hill has dues of ₹12.04 lakh.
“If a Mumbaikar defaults on water tax, the BMC is quick to disconnect the water supply. Will it do the same in the case of the CM? Also, even if 50 people live in the CM’s bungalow, and he has 200 visitors a day, the amount of water consumed is large, especially at a time when there is a drought in the State,” Mr Shaikh said.
In response, the PWD issued a statement on Monday that said, “The water bills of the bungalows of CM and other Ministers were paid in November. In the bill for May, a discrepancy was found in the bills paid earlier and due. That is why the process of bill payment was stopped. After tallying, the process of paying all bills is underway.”
The statement also said the bungalows are maintained by the PWD and it cannot be said that a certain Minister did not pay his bills.
Source – TH