ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Waterboarding No More

An experience at the Delhi Jal Board regarding a complaint of overbilling reveals that the attitudes of public servants have changed, thanks to technology and grass-roots democracy.

The water bill was a bit smudged. Or so I thought since the amount payable seemed to be in five figures. I was supposed to pay ₹30,156 by such-and-such a date. I thought that there had been a mistake. However, getting the whole thing sorted out gave me an opportunity to see how something seems to have changed with the way the bureaucratic machine now works.

It turns out that the tenants living in the flat for the last seven years had stopped paying the water bill since 2010. Add to that late charges, surcharge, etc, and pretty soon we were talking real money. I didn’t even know where to start trying to get this issue resolved. So I checked out the website of the Delhi Jal Board and got the address of the local water office. Except that I had no idea of its location. So I, without any hope, called the landline number of the officer mentioned on the website. And lo and behold, not only was the phone answered but I was also very politely told what I needed to do and where exactly the office is located.

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