Pune Municipal Corporation’s Dual Challenge: Rs 110.88 Crore Water Usage Bill Amid Rs 92.41 Crore Fine for Untreated Sewage

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Pune, 22nd April 2024: The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) sources water from Khadakwasla Dam to meet the water needs of Pune residents. However, the Water Resources Department of the Government of Maharashtra has issued a staggering bill of Rs 110.88 crore to PMC for the period spanning July 2023 to February 2024. Surprisingly, PMC has been discharging untreated wastewater directly into the river, resulting in a fine of Rs 92.41 crore being imposed on the corporation. Thus, PMC finds itself paying more fines for sewage management than for providing drinking water.

Since 2016, PMC has incurred fines from the Water Resources Department for inadequately treating sewage. The city generates 835 million litres per day (MLD) of sewage, of which only 438 MLD is treated and released back into the Mutha River by PMC. However, PMC is being penalized for the untreated portion of sewage.

The Water Resources Department has billed PMC Rs 748 crore for city water usage since 2016, with an outstanding bill of Rs 1,196 crore, including a penalty of Rs 448 crore. PMC has paid Rs 859 crore thus far, leaving Rs 338 crore outstanding, along with an additional Rs 478 crore in pre-2014 funds requested from PMC.

Despite spending approximately Rs 500 crore annually on sewage treatment, PMC faces additional fines totalling Rs 100 crore due to the non-utilization of purified water from the constructed jack well at Mundhwa, as per the decision of the Water Resources Department.

On the front of river rejuvenation, the Municipal Corporation is executing the Pollution Abatement Project of River Mula-Mutha by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), aimed at purifying 100% of the city’s wastewater at an estimated cost of Rs 1200 crore. The project is slated for completion in 2026, after which PMC will be able to treat and release all wastewater into the river. However, the expansion of PMC is leading to new sewage challenges even as this project progresses.