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Friday, Nov 22, 2019

No increase in water tariff in Chandigarh, for now

In a blow to MC’s financial roadmap, mayor shelves agenda stating there was a need to first curb supply losses

punjab Updated: Jun 27, 2018 13:21 IST
Vivek Gupta
Vivek Gupta
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh

The Chandigarh municipal corporation will not increase the water rates for now as the finance and contract committee (F&CC), headed by mayor Davesh Moudgil, on Tuesday deferred the agenda to revise the water tariff.  

This came as a blow to the MC executives as increasing the water tariff was part of MC’s financial roadmap prepared by MC commissioner KK Yadav on the directions of the UT administrator to overcome its current financial crisis.  

According to MC officials, the corporation has been incurring Rs 160 crore on operation and maintenance of water supply in Chandigarh, but it’s not earning more than Rs 78 crore through yearly water and sewerage bill collection.  

The public health department has proposed two rates, one seeking a “moderate” 60% hike and another 95% hike, to cover the deficit between expenditure and revenue.  

However, while chairing the F&CC meeting, the mayor shelved the agenda stating that there was a need to first curb water supply losses, including unmetered supply and pipeline leakages, which were quite high in Chandigarh.  

Moudgil asked officials to increase the compliance of tertiary water in order to decrease the dependency on potable water, and proposed to decrease sewerage collection to 30% of total water bill against the proposed 60%.  

Commissioner KK Yadav said they will constitute a technical committee to prepare a comprehensive policy while considering all concerns discussed at the F&CC meeting. Thereafter, a report will be tabled accordingly. 

An official, wishing not to be named, said the decision to defer the increase in water tariff was unfortunate as the hike was crucial to help tide MC over its dire financial situation.  

“A major chunk of MC’s expenditure is on water supply, and recovery is not even half of it. Without increasing water tariff, it is difficult to even bring reforms in reducing non-metering losses and water leakages,” the official said.

Penalty for using illegal pumps

Meanwhile, F&CC approved the increased penalty for illegal use of pump and motors. Now, the violation will attract a penalty between Rs 2,000 and Rs 4,000, along with confiscation of the pump. Earlier, the penalty was Rs 500.  

Apart from this, the agenda regarding enhancement in water testing charges at MC’s Public Health laboratory at water works, Sector 39, Chandigarh, was approved.  

The mayor also asked MC officials to explore the possibility of providing water connection in booths and dhabas where shopkeepers prepare food using illegal water connections.