Anyone having water connection must pay tax: court
A Division Bench of the Madras High Court affirmed that the Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (CMWSSB) can demand water charges from all owners/ occupants of an apartment even though the apartment has only a common sump and no individual water connection has either been applied for by such owners/occupants or provided by the board.
An earlier petition filed by Akshay J.Mehta and nine others of Govindappa Naicken Street had also been rejected by the Court in 2002. Dismissing the appeal, the Court said that any person drawing water supply from the board and or having sewerage connection provided by the board or owner or occupier of any premises provided with a service connection by the board, was a consumer. The Court further added that any premises containing both commercial and residential flats should be construed only as “commercial flat” under Regulation 3 of the CMWSSB's Water Supply Charges (Levy and Collection) Regulations.
BJP leader VK Malhotra today demanded that the records of Yamuna Cleaning Project be audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General and its report made public. The Leader of Opposition in Delhi Assembly said it was a matter of shame that despite spending crores of rupees and the courts' voicing their ire, the condition of the river has worsened, risking the lives of over 18 million people.
He said that during the past 13 years, Supreme Court and Delhi High Court had expressed their concern more than 13 times and scolded Delhi government for its failure, in spite of that the river is 13 times more polluted now.
Source: The Statesman, New Delhi, February 29, 2012
Dadri 'wetland' puts Ansals, UP govt in hot spot
The Union environment ministry has asked the state government and private builder Ansal API to stop work at the 2,400-acre ‘wetland’ area at Dadri in Greater Noida. This land was sold by the UP government to Ansals for a housing project. The ministry had earlier slammed the UP government for polluting the Ami river. A senior official in the ministry of environment and forests said a show-cause notice had been issued to both builder and state government for immediate stalling of the project. But the government and the private company deny that the said area is a “wetland”.
Source: Business Standard, New Delhi, February 7, 2012
The lakes and water bodies, 24 in number, located in the Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Botanical Gardens had dried up as they are no longer recharged by the Hooghly river.A Public Interest litigation (PIL) was filed by no longer connected with the Hooghly to ensure that the water bodies are recharged by reconnecting them to the river to prevent the death of the plants in the Botanical Gardens. An expert committee had submitted a repot on this and the Court had asked for the implementation of the report.
Till date, there has been no progress on this and the water bodies are in a state of disrepair.
Water tariff woes for Jharkhand government -- Private business houses refuse to comply with new rates
Officials of the Jharkhand government said that private as well as public industrial houses have refused to pay the revised tariff for drawing water. The new tariff, which came into effect on April 1, 2011, required the industries to pay Rs 9.10 per thousand gallons if water was drawn from a river; Rs 26.40 for water drawn from reservoirs and 65.50 on drawing water from canals. But the business houses were paying Rs 4.40 per thousand gallon of water, as per the old tariff. The dues run into crores – Tata Steel owes Rs. 97.36 crore, Bihar Sponge Ltd Rs. 16.34 crore and Adhunik Power ND Natural Resources Limited, Rs. 11.62 crore.
SAIL and Tata Steel have sought recourse by challenging the order in the courts. The other big players who owe substantial amounts for water include Bihar Sponge Limited, Usha Martin, Hindustan Copper Limited, Adhunik Alloys and Copper Limited, Adhunik Power ND Natural Resources Limited, Kohinoor Steel Private Limited, TVNL, Hindalco, ACC and Tata Steel (mines division).
A Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice SH Kapadia, Justice AK Patnaik and Justice Swatanter Kumar in its judgment on a 2002 case on river inter-linking said that this project is in national interests and the states opposed to it will not only harm their neighbours but the country as well. The Bench said that under the constitutional provisions, it is empowered to pass an order for completion of the project which is beneficial to the country as a whole.
Different states have reacted differently to the SC order. Rajasthan, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu have fully supported the project. Karnataka, Bihar, Punjab and Sikkim have given some qualified approvals. They say it must involve quid pro quo. According to Punjab, interlinking of rivers should be started only from water surplus states to states facing water deficit. Kerala is opposed as its rivers are monsoon-fed and not perennial in nature. Therefore, it would experience severe water scarcity during summer or off-monsoon months. Assam and Sikkim have also raised their protests to the project on the grounds that they should have exclusive right to use their water resources and that such transfer should not affect any rights of these states
Source: Economic Times, New Delhi, February 29, 2012