Delhi Jal Board to send notices to govt depts over pending water bills of R3,220 crore
The Delhi Jal Board has decided to go after government departments, who have crores in terms of outstanding water bill payments. These include the three municipal corporations, Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board, Delhi Development Authority, Delhi Police and Indian Railways.
According to a senior Delhi government official, the decision was taken by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, who is also the state’s water minister, after a meeting with Delhi Jal Board officials at his residence on Saturday.
“The overdues of government departments was the primary agenda during the meeting. Huge amount of bills have been pending . Now it has been decided to send these seven departments a notice for payment within a week or their connection will be disconnected. The total principle outstanding amount is Rs 737.77 crore and when late payment surcharge is added the amount comes up to Rs 3,220.12 crore,” the official told Hindustan Times.
The South Delhi Municipal Corporation has a principal outstanding of Rs 6.07 crore, while its total amount due is Rs 31.85 crore, after the addition of of Rs 25.70 crore late payment surcharge. The North Delhi Municipal Corporation owes Rs 1,044.68 crore, which includes Rs 835.19 crore late payment surcharge. The East civic body has to pay Rs 23.73 crore, which includes Rs 6.84 crore principal outstanding and the rest Rs 16.89 crore as late payment surcharge.
“DUSIB has to cough up Rs 186.03 crore, DDA R71.98 crore and Delhi Police Rs 284.53 crore. Railways has the highest outstanding with Rs 330.11 crore principal outstanding. Add another Rs 1,247.20 crore late payment surcharge to it and the the total due jumps to Rs 1577.32 crore,” a DJB official said.
Reacting to the notice, east corporation mayor Neema Bhagat said the Delhi government was putting unnecessary pressure on the cash-strapped civic bodies.
“They haven’t paid us under the 4th Finance Commission. Instead they are threatening us. They want to strangulate us further,” Bhagat said.
A North Delhi Municipal Corporation, who wished not to be named, said they are in talks with DJB officials over the issue.
“We have already taken up the matter with the Delhi Jal Board and hopefully this will be sorted out soon.” the official said.
Next week, the jal board will start pursuing outstanding water bills of private and commercial users, a government official said.
Dependra Pathak, Delhi Police’s chief spokesperson, said that the dues would be examined and cleared as per the standardized process. “We are a responsible government organisation that pays for services it uses,” said Pathak when the issue was brought to his notice.
RN Singh, divisional railway manager, Northern Railway, said he was not aware of any such notice.