Regardless of facing the brunt of acute water shortage, the city residents even after two years are yet to follow the rules of Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) for setting up rainwater harvesting system at their respective residences.
According to a RMC official, over 40,000 households are yet to set up rainwater harvesting system despite repeated attempts of the Municipal Corporation to make the public understand the need and importance of rainwater harvesting.
Notably, in the wake of depleting ground water level, rainwater harvesting has been made compulsory for all households covering 3228 square feet area under ‘RMC Rainwater Harvesting Regulation 2016’. The recent data of Municipal Corporation suggests merely 12,021 households in the Capital City till date have adopted this much needed water conservation technique.
The severe water scarcity problem that aroused in 2016 during the summer season made the civic body officials to take up stringent measures. Following the building by-laws clause for all kind of establishments -- households, flats, government buildings or commercial units, a proposal for setting up rainwater harvesting systems had been passed.
“More than 70 per cent households are yet to abide by the rules. The Municipal Corporation had received 1,61,141 Self Assessment Forms (SAF) during holding tax collection in 2017. After scrutiny, 1,09,014 house owners were relieved as they did not fall under the category which mentions that all houses covering 3228 square feet area must have the facility of rain water harvesting.” said RMC Officer (PR), Naresh Sinha.
On enquiring about the steps being taken up by the civic body staffs to ensure establishment of rainwater harvesting systems, Sinha said, “Defaulters are on the radar of RMC. We can spread awareness but cannot compel any one to follow the rules. All 40,000 household owners who are yet to establish rainwater harvesting on their premises are giving 1.5 times the total holding tax as a fine amount.”
The municipal corporation in March 2016 had set a one-month deadline for all building owners covering 3228 square feet area or more to put in place mandatory water harvesting structures, failing to which the civic body is entitled to charge the penalty amount after the enforcement of new holding tax rates that came into effect from May 1, 2016.
During RMC Board meet in May 2018, ward councilors too raised this pivotal issue while Rajya Sabha MP, Mahesh Poddar had rapped the officials for not maintaining a track record of rainwater harvesting setup. Besides, ensuring establishment of rainwater harvesting system at individual household, a proposal of setting up community rainwater harvesting system at each ward was also approved by the officials. As per the plan, each ward must have the provision of community rainwater harvesting system. However, neither the ward councilors nor the civic body team took interest in community rainwater system establishment.
Ironically, at present, none of the wards have the arrangement of community rainwater harvesting system. “We are looking into the matter. On the request of a few ward councilors, we have approved a few sites for setting up a community rainwater harvesting system while files have been forwarded to the senior officials for clearing the mandatory paper works regarding this,” Sinha further added.