The current process of billing the residents of Mumbai for their use of water is one that takes days to finish. Staff members of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) go from house to house to note down readings. These are then filed into their system, based on which, the residents get their water bill delivered to their home.
There have been several occasions where residents have complained that the bills dispatched to them were incorrect, or that they received them past the deadline. In a few instances, people have also complained about how paying these bills is a cumbersome task.
Taking cognisance of their complaints, the BMC is all set to put an end to these grievances by bringing in a new software that will digitally calculate water consumption, and make the entire process of water billing clear as.. well, water.
Here is all that you should know about it:
1. The basic idea about this update is to involve citizens during the billing process. The BMC staff member will check units using the updated software, and let you confirm the numbers before recording the bill.
2. You will also be able to click pictures of the water metres and send them to a designated email address.
3. You can pay your bill using methods like Internet banking, and e-wallet platforms like Paytm, saving you the trouble of constantly keeping up with the task.
4. One of the main issues with the current system is that the BMC uses an outdated computer platform. For this, it has handed over the responsibility to update the software to a contractor—M/s ABM Knowledgeware—that will also maintain it for five years. They have complete liberty to come up with various ways to make the system transparent, fast and efficient.
5. The new system promises to solve the problem of late dispatch of bills, especially in slums. Speaking to The Hindu, Ramesh Bambale, the Deputy Municipal Commissioner said, “At present, people can pay bills online, but the system that generates bills is outdated. People, even slum dwellers, with a valid water meter will benefit from this method. Our staffer will take the reading on site and generate a bill. They can use any method of payment.”
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The user-friendly and transparent nature of the new software is certainly a welcome change!
The proposal was submitted to the BMC standing committee on March 28, 2018, and was eventually passed. It is currently being worked upon, and the BMC is confident that the new method will result in greater transparency, end manual errors, and ensure timely payment.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)