The industry in Pithampur has moved the high court over what it calls arbitrary increase in water tariff by Audyogik Kendra Vikas Nigam (AKVN), a government agency.
The AKVN Indore has hiked the water tariff by 10% to Rs 31.46 per 1,000 litres for the current year. In response, the industry moved court after talks between the Pithampur industry association and the government over the revised tariff failed to break the deadlock.
"We had signed a memorandum with the government in 2005 in this regard. According to that agreement, any revision on water tariff had to factor in the additional expenditure of the agency," association president Gautam Kothari said. "The AKVN, however, raised the tariff from about Rs 14 (per 1,000 litres) in 2005 to Rs 20 in 2011. The problem began when it continued to hike tariff by 10% in subsequent years and so before this latest revision, the tariff was Rs 28.60. This formula of 10% hike every year is too steep and not acceptable to us."
The government, in its rejoinder, has justified the hike by pointing out input cost escalation and additional expenditure.
The industry is also upset over the government decision to levy a charge on the industrial units drawing groundwater in Pithampur.
As reported by HT, in a letter to factory owners, the AKVN's Indore chapter had asked them to install meters at all bore-well pumps at their own expense. The association held talks with the government over this issue and a decision was taken to maintain the status quo.
Pithampur, which is also home to a special economic zone, has more than 400 medium and large-scale industries. The piped water supplies bring in 8-10 million litres a day (MLD) as against the demand of 18 MLD, and units have had to cut down on production during summer due to an acute water shortage.
The industry's hopes are now pinned on the operationalization of the Narmada-Kshipra link project by next year.