Civic body suggests taxing private well owners

Tankers that supply water outside city draw from these wells.

To curb illegal transport of water outside city, BMC has recommended the state impose a commercial tax on private well owners who sell water to tankers. It hopes to make good revenue loss this way.

The move may, however, result in an upward price revision for end-users of water supplied by tankers.

Additional municipal commissioner Mohan Adtani said, "We do not have a taxation system for well water fetched by tankers. These tankers normally supply outside city limits. If charges are applied, the corporation can at least gain some revenue." Shiv Sena corporator and member of the standing committee Shubha Raul, however, demanded all private wells be acquired by BMC for public use.

She said, "The corporation should take possession of all wells in the city. Water is not a private commodity that can be sold. The number of wells in the city is declining with growing construction, so we must take control."

The civic administration, however, said such action could be taken only when the city faces a water crisis and blocked the proposal by Raul.

There are 784 private and 574 public wells in the city. When there was monsoon rain deficit in July, the corporation had sought assistance of the Collector to acquire private wells.

7 night shelters for homeless ready: BMC

BMC told Bombay High Court (HC) Thursday it had constructed seven night shelters for the homeless. HC was hearing a public interest litigation by NGO Homeless Collective that raises the issue of paucity of night shelters for the homeless, especially during monsoon and winter. BMC lawyer Sharmila Modale said another four shelters were under construction. She said the civic body planned to build 25 shelters and had made a provision of Rs 5 crore for the purpose in Budget 2012-13. HC accepted the statement and adjourned the case till January 21.

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