Citizen Connect: Tax high but water supply erratic, lament residents of Peerkankaranai town panchayat

Thousands of residents of Peerkankaranai town panchayat in Perungalathur are left fuming by the doubling of their water tax, which has come into force despite them not receiving proper water supply. Many of them are quesitoning the rationale behind charging the tax if the supply was erratic.
Citizen Connect: Tax high but water supply erratic, lament residents of Peerkankaranai town panchayat
A water tank on roadside in Perungalathur

Chennai

The Peerkankaranai town panchayat consists of 15 wards, which include Srinivasa Nagar, Kamarajar Nagar, Vel Nagar, Lakshmipuram and Devanesa Nagar, with a total population of nearly 80,000. According to local residents, the Peerkankaranai town panchayat was collecting Rs 50 as water tax from them each month till recently. Now, the tax has been doubled to Rs 100. 
The residents said that they were ready to pay the Rs 100 charged by the local body for water. However, it was not fair on the part of the authorities to increase the tax without supplying water properly. 
Till about a year ago, residents said, the town panchayat was supplying water regularly to those households with water connections every day. They use to receive water for an hour every morning, they said. The situation changed in 2018. Water was supplied only once in two days, and the duration of supply, too, was reduced from an hour to 40 minutes. 
If that was not enough, the quality of water also went down drastically. It became so salty that they could not use it for domestic purposes. In addition, the salty water was also damaging the tanks and pipes, they complained.
A source from the neighbourhood told DT Next that Perungalathur town panchayat has no proper source for water. The local body is managing with public wells and two bore wells to supply water. 
Mahalakshmi, a resident of Peerkankaranai, said, “We are ready to pay Rs 100 that the town panchayat is levying as water tax. But for that amount, we should get water regularly or at least the quality of water should improve.”
When contacted, Peerkankarani town panchayat executive officer Suma said the authorities decided to increased the water tax that remained the same for several years. “The groundwater table in the area is too low, and we need to manage with the available water till the onset of monsoon. That is the reason why the water supply got reduced,” the official said.

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