Minister for Urban Development U.T. Khader said here on Sunday that his department is contemplating introducing an initiative of automatically stopping water supply to water bill defaulting high-rise buildings in the State. The initiative may be introduced on a pilot basis in Mangaluru, the Minister said, after inaugurating a six-storeyed market-cumcommercial complex of Mangaluru Urban Development Authority at the Urwa Market here. Mr. Khader said that as per the initiative respective urban local bodies would install smart water supply meters in high-rise buildings having a minimum of 20 and more units. It would apply to both commercial complexes and residential apartments. If those buildings did not pay water bills for the third month in a row, the smart meters would automatically stop water supply to them. Such a step has been taken in Mumbai, he added.
The Minister said that this step would make high-rise buildings pay without piling up huge bills with urban local bodies, just like how the electricity supply companies have stopped power supply to defaulters. “It is all the more unfortunate that affluent sections of society top the list of tax and water bill defaulters,” Mr. Khader said. The complex at Urwa Market having a built-up area of 84,891.45 sq ft has been built at an estimated cost of Rs. 12 crore. It has 122 stalls. Of these, 31 have been reserved for fish vendors, eight for selling chicken, and 68 for other purposes. There are 15 units which can be used as offices. All those would be rented out by the urban development authority. The complex has been built by availing of Rs. 4.30 crore as bank loan and spending Rs. 8.33 crore from the funds of the urban development authority.
The foundation stone for the building was laid on December 19, 2016. According to Nelson Pais, architect, representing 2 PKM Associates, of the building, 69 cars and 40 two-wheelers could be parked on the basement and lower ground floors. Basement parking has been designed for parking vehicles of owners of offices. Mangaluru City Corporation Commissioner Mohammed Nazir said that the corporation has leased out its market land to the urban development authority for 30 years. D. Vedavyasa Kamath, MLA, Mangaluru City South, spoke. Deputy Commissioner Sasikanth Senthil S. and Mangaluru Urban Development Authority Commissioner Srikanth Rao were present.