The Pune civic body will from now allow tax discounts for rainwater harvesting to properties only after checking if groundwater was recharged.
A Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) official said the administration would inspect the groundwater levels near the properties getting the tax discount.
He said while many properties were enjoying the discounts though the rainwater harvesting systems were lying defunct, the facility has been installed at some units “just as a formality” to enjoy the benefit.
PMC commissioner Shekhar Gaikwad “We will get an exact idea about the status of the rainwater harvesting systems in the city through the inspections. If the discounts given to the ineligible properties are scrapped, it will increase the PMC’s revenue.”
He said the PMC would tie up with the Groundwater Survey and Development Agency and other authorities for the inspection. The survey would include physical inspection of the systems fitted in the properties and whether the rainwater was being properly discharged into soak pits or not. The technical study of groundwater level would also be done.
Gaikwad said there would be surprise checks that would cover all types of properties, including private houses, commercial buildings and housing societies.
“The findings will be out in a couple of months. The new rates for properties without a proper rainwater harvesting systems will be implemented from the next financial year,” he said.
The Pune District Cooperative Housing Societies Federation has welcomed the step and demanded awareness be created simultaneously. “Rainwater harvesting is important. But many societies are not doing it scientifically. Some builders have set up these systems just to get building permissions,” the federation’s chairman Suhas Patwardhan said.
He said the residents should be educated about the need of rainwater harvesting. The smaller and old societies should also install rainwater harvesting systems.
A PMC official said the civic body was contemplating financial help to old properties to fit such systems. The PMC’s standing committee had given a green signal to the proposal in 2019. It had stated that the societies built before 2002 would be eligible for financial aid.