Water tariff hike awaiting Chief Minister’s approval

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Bangalore, November 3:  The Urban Development Department’s proposal to hike water tariff is still awaiting the Chief Minister’s nod.

The department, which sent the proposal on October 10, is planning to remind Chief Minister Siddaramaiah about it. Sources in the department told The Hindu they were hoping he would examine the proposal at the earliest.

Sources in the Chief Minister’s secretariat said Mr. Siddaramaiah was planning to convene a meeting of all civic service providers in the city. “He is likely to study the proposal then. He may allow water board officials to make a presentation on the water tariff hike proposal either during the meeting or a day before that,” the sources said.

The forthcoming Lok Sabha polls appears to have played a part in the delay in approving the tariff hike. “If the proposal is not considered within the next few weeks, it is likely that it will be postponed and considered only after the elections,” the sources added.
Needs revenue

According to sources, the water board needs more revenue to take up new projects, while also operating and maintaining existing ones. As per its proposal, the number of slabs has been reduced from eight to five for both domestic and non-domestic connections. The present minimum slab of 0-8,000 litres has been revised to 0-6,000 litres. That apart, the minimum rate of a kilo litre of water is likely to be revised from Rs. 6 to Rs. 10.

A senior BWSSB official had earlier told The Hindu that the plan was to charge a minimum of Rs. 10 per person per day in a family with up to five members. Although power tariff had been hiked several times, water charges had not been revised since 2006. If approved, the tariff would be revised after eight years in the city, the official said. Of its revenue of Rs. 45 crore, the board spent nearly Rs. 33 crore on power and the rest on salaries and maintenance.

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