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April 18, 2017
The Times of India

BWSSB's move to make them a must with retrospective effect is illegal

The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board's (BWSSB) move making sewage treatment plants (STPs) and dual piping mandatory for apartment complexes with 50 units or more with retrospective effect is absurd.

It is illegal as all the enforcement authorities, including the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) and the ministry of environment, have directed the BWSSB to ensure new apartments with 50 units and more are equipped with STPs on a prospective basis. The water board has chosen to ignore the directives and taken a unilateral decision which is in violation of its own Act Section 122(2) of the BWSSB Act states that any rule with retrospective effect can be made only after the reasons for the same are laid down before both houses of the legislature and an pproval is obtained. In the absence of hese, the notification is illegal.

Digging the ground near the foundation pillars to construct an STP and breaking walls for dual piping might ompromise the safety of buildings. A properly designed and constructed STP, together with dual piping, for a 50-apartment complex would cost ver Rs 1.25 crore. This would entail an upfront investment of Rs 80,000 per apartment unit together with a running cost of about Rs 800 per month. Most of the older apartments would have elderly residents comprising pensioners and widows. They would have very likely in vested their life savings to buy the apartment and would be in no position to afford this extra burden.

This apart, the city already has thousands of STPs, many of which are dysfunctional or semi-functional, including BWSSB's own plants, owing to limited available technical expertise, ineffective guidelines, impracticality of enforcing compliance on thousands of STPs, etc.