Published On : Fri, May 2nd, 2014

Management of Empress City Mall’s move to reduce water bill foiled

Action initiated on  RTI activist Sanjay Agrawal letter

Nagpur News: Use essential resources without paying for it. Don’t pay for the utilization of resources as long as one doesn’t have to or is not found. This seems to be the policy of many big shopping malls. They flout as many laws, rules and regulations of civic, fire department, police etc. Abuse civic amenities as much as one can and when they charge you for them, make a big hullabaloo of the charges being exorbitant.

It may be recalled that Empress City Mall has defaulted payment of its water bill amounting to Rs 16.5 crores. The civic authorities severed the connection for non-payment. They have been trying their level best to pressurize the authorities to reduce the water bill. The issues raised by the management of Empress City Mall over, the manner in which the water tax is computed and raised is hilarious. NMC has levied the water tax amounting to Rs 16.5 crores, while in reality; the amount that NMC has to receive from them is way higher than that.

The Executive Engineer of Water Supply Department Azizur Rehman had himself accepted that the water meter installed at Empress City Mall should be computed ten times of what it reads. However, the civic authorities discovered this only in the month of September 2013. There is a need to correct the previous bill and the amount is said to be recovered from the management of Empress City Mall.

The management of Empress City Mall had also claimed that the residential units which are in the process of being built in the premises are also being charged at commercial rate. According to the management of Empress City Mall, the residential units are still under construction and they have already applied to NMC for the residential meter. Then how will the rate of total water usage are calculated at residential rate, when they are still using water on the meter which reads at commercial rate?

Sanjay Agrawal in his letter to the Municipal Commissioner has lauded the civic authorities for the right action initiated by them by severing the water connection of Empress City Mall. He has requested the Municipal Commissioner to personally look into the matter and ensure that the water connection is not reconnected without recovering the entire due amount of the water tax. Agrawal has added that the correction in the old water tax computed wrongly should also be corrected and recovered from the management of Empress City Mall. According to Agrawal, recovery of this huge amount will fill the coffer of the NMC. He hoped that the Municipal Commissioner will direct the officials to take appropriate action against such erring malls. This will set a right precedence and also act as deterrent for other erring business establishments.