FOUR persons introduced themselves as members of the inspection team of the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) head office and demanded the WASA bill payment documents. The relevant documents were up-to-date and then they wanted to inspect the water meter.
After looking at the water meter, they observed that the meter seems to be all right but maintained that a meter change from Segunbagicha WASA meter division will cost around seven to eight thousand taka, though meter is to be changed free of cost by the WASA! Lastly, they demanded one thousand taka as their visit fee. It is a mystery to me as to why that fee was asked as I did witness the whole episode at Eskatan in Dhaka on the eve of Independence Day.
My host has no alternative but to pay taka five hundred so as to satisfy
the greed and unjust claim of the WASA people. If they were not given the bribe, they could harass the consumer by giving reports like malfunctioning of meter, tampering of meter, changing meter fixation direction etc. My host narrated similar harassment in the past while it is difficult to escape the WASA officials without monetary transactions due to tariff structure of the WASA billing system.
The WASA supplies water through one water meter to one building whatever may be the number of consumers. In case of apartments or high rise buildings, comprising domestic and commercial consumers, domestic consumers pay Taka twelve for one cubic meter of water while commercial consumers pay Taka forty for one-cubic meter of water. Thus there is no alternative but to negotiate with the WASA officials!
Should the gentlemen of the jury or Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) grasp the problem and do something while BNP general secretary general is in charge of the ministry concerned as Local Government and Rural Development (LGRD) minister?
It may be prudent on my part to suggest "Suo moto" rule on the authorities concerned or to do something through WB, IMF, EU, ADB etc., so that consumers do not remain at the mercy of WASA officials. Let us pray honestly to Almighty!
34, Khan A Sobur Road