In a move which could provide relief to thousands of flat dwellers in the city, the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) on Thursday relaxed its rule for installation of sewage treatment plant (STP) apartment complexes. However, the rule is still applicable for new apartments with more than 50 units.
While the BWSSB had initially said that it was mandatory for apartment complexes with 20 or more flats to install STPs, it has now amended the rule, and increased it to 50 or more flats.
Following this, residents of older apartment complexes protested the rule, saying that the plan was expensive, as well as not feasible as it comes with several safety risks. In the first week of December, a silent protest was organised and coordinated by the Bangalore Apartment Federation (BAF), an association of over 175 apartments spread across the city.
Minister for Bengaluru Development and Town Planning KJ George on Thursday said that the notification will be enforced prospectively and in areas without underground drainage, the Times of India reported.
"We received many complaints, and the BBMP council, too, discussed it. Bengaluru Apartments' Federation wanted the order to take effect prospectively. Due to these reasons, we have suspended the order. There is an NGT (National Green Tribunal) order already in place that states STPs are compulsory wherever there is no sewage line. New apartments also have to give an undertaking that they will set up STP or wait for drainage to come up before getting the occupancy certificate or seeking plan nod," ToI quoted George as saying.
â€śRepresentatives of apartments federation have also agreed to the rule that prospective apartments will not get occupancy certificate if they do not include an STP,â€ť he added.
In March 2016, the Karnataka government passed a notification for STPs to be installed in all apartment complexes, and the rule was applied retrospectively to all apartments within the BWSSB limits. The aim is to ensure treated water gets into the drainage system, thereby helping save Bengaluruâ€™s waterbodies.
Initially, it was applicable to all apartment buildings with more than 20 units. Later, in March 2017, the rule was relaxed and made only for apartments with more than 50 units. It also made installation of dual pipeline for reusing recycled water within apartments mandatory.
With a deadline of December 31, if apartment complexes donâ€™t follow the rule, they face the risk of having their water connection and other amenities like electricity disconnected from their households.