N Pathy, a resident of Golden Jubilee Flats in Tirumangalam, has been paying water and sewage taxes promptly for three decades, ironically for a non-existent connection.
“We are dependent on private water tankers throughout the year. This despite making prompt water and sewage tax payment. Residents pool in their own money to rectify faults in the drainage system. We are not depending on the authorities though we pay the taxes,” Pathy said.
The residents of the tenement located in the heart of city have been waging a long battle against the authorities. “We made several representations to Metrowater authorities regarding the delay. They claim that 20 per cent of the inmates haven’t paid their taxes and that they will provide water supply only if all pay up. Ultimately, the taxpayers are suffering,” he said. However, the Board is providing them with three water tankers, supplying nearly 30,000 litres to meet their daily requirements.
Currently, each household is eligible to receive two pots of water for daily needs. In addition, the inmates rely on borewells and private tankers. The residential complex has 426 houses, with more than 1,500 inmates. It was built under one of the Housing Board projects. Before 2011, the tenement was under the jurisdiction of the Ambattur Municipality. Even then, the tenement was not provided water connection.
“I stopped paying taxes since 2002. I occupied my flat along with my family in 1986. But, I still have not received patta for it. I won’t pay until the authorities award me patta,” said Murugan (name changed), a defaulter.
When contacted, Sivamurugan, Area Engineer attached to Area VII of the CMWSSB, said, “After the locality was brought the under Greater Chennai Corporation, the inmates are liable to pay the corporation assessment. But, only a handful paid the taxes. They will not be eligible to receive the connection until all the others pay their dues.”