Now, Chandigarh MC engineering department submits proposal to hike water tariff
After tax branch, the municipal corporation’s MC engineering department has sought increase in water tariff.
MC chief engineer Shailender Singh confirmed to HT that a proposal seeking increase in the existing water rates had been submitted to MC commissioner KK Yadav for his consideration.
On how much hike was proposed, he said the increase was more or less similar to what was mooted last year (see box).
In its proposal, the department has mentioned the existing water rates charged by the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority, Haryana Shahari Vikas Pradhikaran (HSVP) and Delhi Municipal Corporation.
“Their rates are certainly much higher than what Chandigarh MC is charging. Even after the hike, our rates will be still lower than theirs. A meeting with the MC commissioner is expected soon to take a final call on the matter,” he said.
When contacted, MC commissioner KK Yadav said hike in water charges was the need of the hour, especially after an audit department report recommended them in June, since MC’s annual losses from water supply had crossed ₹82 crore.
As per the audit report, water charges had not been revised for the past nine years. In 2011, the difference between MC’s revenue and expenditure of water supply was ₹41 crore that had doubled now.
As per the audit, MC collects ₹78 crore per annum as water charges, but annual expenditure incurred to maintain the supply to its 1.8 lakh consumers is ₹160 crore. As the annual recurring expenses are increasing by 10% to 15% every year, losses will further increase in future, putting huge pressure on MC’s coffers.
COUNCILLORS REJECTED PROPOSAL TWICE IN PAST
The hike in water tariff will not be a cakewalk for MC officials, as the General House has rejected similar proposals thrice in the past five years.
The first such proposal was mooted in 2014. Then in 2018, officials again made attempts to hike rates. However, the House, with a majority of BJP councillors, did not give it approval, as they were not in favour of tariff revision till the city was provided additional water supply.
Now that the city has got additional 29MGD water from Phases 5 and 6 of Kajauli waterworks, MC commissioner KK Yadav said since MC’s expenditure will increase further, a rise in water charges was urgently required.
However, Congress councillor Devinder Babla said the corporation could reduce the expenditure by limiting water wastage and other systematic reforms that had never been considered. The officials only find easy way to tame losses, he