After NMC woke from its deep slumber and severed the water connection of Empress City Mall, the message it sent to many big defaulters was strong. After the water connection was snapped, a delegation of Empress City Mall approached the In-Charge Executive Engineer of NMC’s Water Works Department Azizur Rehman to request him to restore the water connection. However, the delegation had to leave empty handed.
Talking exclusively to Nagpur Today, Azizur Rehman said that the delegation did come to him requesting him to restore the water supply. However, he said that since the decision to sever connection was not at his level and had come from higher ups, he cannot take any decision.
Rehman added that the authorities of Empress City Mall had a dispute over the water bill. According to him, they did not even make the payment of the bill amount they felt was justified. The Water Works Department should be able to see a willingness to pay first after which their dispute could be redressed.
However, Azizur Rehman had conveyed the same and the delegates of the authorities of Empress City Mall left empty handed.
Do not restore unless 75% is paid, demands RTI activist
A noted RTI activist Sanjay Agrawal, after reading a report on the huge amount of Rs 16.5 crore unpaid by Empress City Mall and subsequent severance of their water connection in Nagpur Today and other newspapers, he sent a letter to the Municipal Commissioner Shyam Wardhane asking him not to reconnect the water connection until the authorities of Empress City Mall pay at least 75 per cent of the pending bill plus the current month bill of April, 2014.
Agrawal added that reconnecting the connection under any duress would send a wrong signal to the citizens. According to Sanjay Agrawal, when NMC can act tough on poor or middle class citizens and cuts water connection for non-payment, they should take the same tough stand against Empress City Mall, too.
What’s the source of water supply at present?
He also wanted the NMC to check from where the Empress City Mall is getting water now. If it is OCW, the company which supplies water to the citizens of Nagpur on behalf of NMC, then they should also be stopped from supplying water to such defaulters so that they make the payment of their pending bill at the earliest.
He advised the NMC Commissioner not to get cowed down under any pressure or the message that will be sent out will question the very working policy of the NMC.
Nagpur Today Impact
It may be recalled, Nagpur Today had flashed a report headlined: “Finally, Nagpur Municipal Corporation acts on Big Fish, snaps Empress city water supply” stating following an expose by an RTI activist Sanjay Agarwal, the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) has snapped water supply to the Empress City and Empress Mall as it is also a part of Empress City. The civic body was not taking any action against Empress City despite its water tariff arrears mounting to Rs 16.50 crore.
After obtaining information under the RTI Act, Sanjay Agrawal had exposed NMC Water Works Department’s lack of action in the issue. The Rs 16 crore arrears amount to a whopping 19% of the annual revenue of the water works department.