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Is KSPCB Annual CFO Fee Fair for Apartment Complexes

1 Comment Sub Category:Owners Association,Waste Management Posted On: Jul 19, 2011

Click Here to Download Petition for Withdrawal of Annual CFO Fees

Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) norms in running and maintaining Sewage Treatment Plant puts apartment community in the city in Dilemma. According to KSPCB, “Any person who is likely to establish or take any steps to establish any Industrial Plant or process or any treatment and disposal system or any extension or addition which is likely to discharge sewage or trade effluent into any stream or well or sewer or on land has to obtain prior consent of the Board under Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974.”

Two types of consents are issued. Consent for establishment (CFE) has to be obtained prior to establishment of an industry, operation or a process. Consent for operation (CFO) has to be obtained prior to commissioning of an industry and for continuation of discharge of emission and effluents or for expansion and modernization of existing Industry. KSPCB has fixed annual CFO Fee for obtaining Consent for operation (CFO).

KSPCB equating residential apartment with industries

Consent fee is collected based on Capital Investment/Project Cost and category to which the industry/Project belongs. The industries are split in three classes: green (least polluting), orange (Moderately polluting) and red (maximum polluting). The red category includes nuclear power plants, refineries and ports. KSPCB classifies residential complexes in this same class and calculates annual CFO fee for industries (Red) and domestic STP same.

It is unfair because the apartments that treat their own sewage at enormous cost have to pay additional CFO fee (which is unreasonably large). 53% of the Bangalore population is forced to dump their raw sewage directly in lakes (thanks to inability of BWSSB to provide sewerage lines). Even they do not pay any charges. So the irony is, the only people who are actively protecting the environment by running their own STP (at enormous cost) have to pay an additional exorbitant fee as well.

Apartment Communities are not highly polluting units

Domestic wastewater treatment/STP is the process of removing contaminants and apartment communities in city are are actively protecting the environment by running their own STP. KSPCB classifies residential complexes in Industries (red category) which includes nuclear power plants, refineries and ports. The fee for industries (red)are very high when comparing to Orange and Green. The fees for Industries are classified based on the Capital investment/project and pollution potential. When the same system is adopted to calculate annual CFO Fee for residential complex with STP, larger and costlier apartments actively protecting the environment by running their own STP are highly penalized, while cheap rudimentary STPs are benefited.

The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 does not empower the Central and State pollution Control Boards to charge fees. KSPCB has also mandates residential apartment communities with built-up area greater than 20,000 sq mts to have STP. For running and maintaining operation of STP/Domestic wastewater treatment plant, apartment communities or association has to pay an additional exorbitant fee as well. But the smaller apartments takes advantage by directly let out their sewage into the Under Ground Drain set up by BWSSB Bangalore and do not require an STP.

The apartment communities in the city and Apartment owners association or RWA in Bangalore suggests following things to KSPCB for smooth running of STP in residential apartments.

  • KSPCB charges annual fee of Rs. 250 for the STPs run by public bodies up to a population of 50,000. In comparison, an apartment-based STP serves about 1000 people; which is 1/50 the size. STPs run by associations are community-run STPs, at par with BWSSB STPs. Therefore residential apartment communities running and maintaining STP should be paying only a nominal fee (Rs. 250/year) and should get reimbursement for running a part of the overall STPs run in the area.
  • Do not equate Domestic STP with industries categorized Red (highly polluting units).
  • Annual CFO Fee calculation should not be based on cost of the apartment/project. The cost of the apartment has nothing to do with the water consumption or indeed the impact of the apartment on the environment. In fact, the larger and costlier apartments have a large footprint, but less loading on the environment because lesser number of people live in them. Similarly, apartments located in costlier areas have to pay more, although the impact on the environment is the same.
  • There should be separate form for domestic STP and industries
  • The fee structure for domestic waste should be approved through a public hearing or expert-opinion.
  • The apartment-dwellers are running a community-managed STP on BWSSB’s behalf. Therefore some incentives should be offered to apartment communities to actively run and maintain domestic waste or STP system.
  • Even the basis for deriving the cost of the apartment is not defined in the KSPCB form, and there is a lot of confusion in public.
  • The CFO form for residential apartment is same which is actually designed for industries. People are forced to leave blanks and enter “near-equivalent” data that is actually incorrect (or irrelevant) for a residential complex.
  • A fair way to deal with this scenario is to find the total amount of money spent by all domestic STPs in Bangalore and then re-distribute the cost among the citizens living in BBMP area.

Please Take print out of the Petition for Withdrawal of Annual CFO Fees with your apartment community’s letter head and Send signed petition to CommonFloor so that a concerted effort is made and KSPCB is made to reconsider its policy.

Thanks to Managing Committee members of Apartment communities in Bangalore for contributing this article to CommonFloor.com

Click Here to Download Petition for Withdrawal of Annual CFO Fees


One Response to “Is KSPCB Annual CFO Fee Fair for Apartment Complexes”

  1. Nk Ravee says:

    This is unfair, inequitable and blatantly undeserving. The apartment dwellers/owners also pay property tax and paid all due to BBMP. BWSSP, BESCOM, BDA…..Yet they are asked to put in their own STP; fair enough. Then, they are told that the treated waste water conforming to all norms still can not be discharged to public drain. Contrast this to the individual house owners; they do not treat their sewage…. they pay the same and possibly lower property taxes…. what is going on here? Any one reading the annual tamasha report called environment report/audit findings will think it is a huge joke!! Mindless regulations made by corrupt bureaucrats and passed by lawmakers  and administered by roving ever bribe seeking inspectors and environment officers are a curse to this nation. 

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