Civic body also plans to slap notices on defaulters who have not paid their bills for long
The Vadodara Municipal Corporations (VMC) Gas Department has finally been able to settle the pending bills with the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC),which were pending for the last many years.
There was a standoff between the civic body and ONGC on the same issue,as VMC was not ready to give up the amount of Rs 80 lakh; the ONGC had,on the other hand,claimed that the charges were not justified.
When the civic body slapped a bill of Rs 80 lakh on ONGC,the oil major said there should not be any bill for the houses,which are lying vacant. We feel that even though the houses are closed,the minimum charges have to be paid by them like the other consumers in the city, said an official at the Gas Department.
After rounds of talks,both the agencies have agreed to end the matter. According to officials at the Gas Department,of the total outstanding amount (Rs 80 lakh),Rs 56 lakh have been paid to the civic body.
The talks were initiated with the ONGC and we have been able to convince them to pay the bills. They have already paid a part of the total and assured to pay the remainder soon, Shailesh Naik,Gas Project in-charge,told Newsline.
Meanwhile,the Gas department has also tightened the noose on the defaulters who have not paid their bills for a long time.
We have acted tough on several defaulters who were delaying in payment of bills. In the last one month,we have collected about Rs 85 lakh. Notices have also been served to many others who have not paid their bills, he said.
Interestingly,one of the defaulters was BJP corporator Jitu Sevani. He had issued a cheque of Rs 50,000 against the payment due,but it was dishonoured by the bank. He,however,has paid Rs 30,000 in cash and the remaining amount will be recovered soon, said an official at the Gas Department.