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Chandigarh civic body wants Rs 90cr compensation for loss caused due to putting new water tariffs on hold

"Putting on hold the hiked water tariff has caused the civic body a loss of Rs 90 crore in ten months and the same should be compensated," the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation has written in a letter to the UT administration.

Written by Hina Rohtaki | Chandigarh |
July 16, 2021 11:38:44 pm
Chandigarh administration had put on hold the new hiked rates on May 25 this year and had stated that old rates will continue till March 31, 2022.

THE CHANDIGARH Municipal Corporation has written to the UT Administration asking for compensation for the amount of funds that the civic body lost by putting its hiked water tariff on hold.

“Putting on hold the hiked water tariff has caused the civic body a loss of Rs 90 crore in ten months and the same should be compensated,” the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation has written in a letter to the UT administration.

Chandigarh administration had put on hold the new hiked rates on May 25 this year and had stated that old rates will continue till March 31, 2022.

Commissioner KK Yadav had earlier stated that they were collecting a revenue of Rs 188 crore for water bills under the new tariffs, which reduced to around Rs 98 crore after the old rates were reimplemented .

Yadav said, “Our development work will suffer as our revenue has been reduced. That is why we have calculated the losses for these ten months and have prepared a case and sent it to the administration to compensate us for at least Rs 90 crore that we lost.”

The Chandigarh administration, however, later in the day shot a reply to the letter stating that they didn’t have funds to compensate the civic body as of now.

The UT administration in its reply said that they didn’t have funds and when revised estimates of the budget will be sent to the government, the civic body can then prepare their case and the same be sent to the government.

NEXT MONTH’S WATER BILLS TO BE RECEIVED AT REDUCED RATES

Next month’s water bills will continue to be calculated as per the old rates, municipal commissioner KK Yadav. Residents had been complaining that despite the notification in the month of May this year, they were still being charged for water at a higher rate.

Commissioner KK Yadav said that the notification of putting on hold the hiked rates was done in May end and for next cycle, rates will come on the reduced tariff.

The Chandigarh administration on May 25 this year had put on hold the increased water tariffs that had been introduced in September last year. The hiked rates have been put on hold till March 31, 2022.

A hike of 200 times had been notified by the administration in water tariffs in September last year, leaving residents in the lurch.

The UT Administration had been resisting a roll-back of the hiked tariffs despite facing resistance from various quarters.

On March 9 this year, six months after the 200 per cent hike had been introduced, the councillors had resolved in the General House that the increased tariff be rolled back. The councillors had then resolved that at least till the time the Covid-19 pandemic was raging, the 2011 rates for water tariffs may be in force. After the pandemic is over, restructuring of two slabs can be done, along with a reduction in sewerage cess.

The House had stated that even after the Covid period is over, there would be a reduction in rates of at least two slabs — in the 31-60 KL slab, where the rate would be reduced from Rs 12 per KL to Rs 9 per KL and in the slab of above 60 KL, where the rate be reduced from Rs 24 per KL to Rs 16 per KL. It was also resolved that sewerage cess be reduced from 30 per cent to 5 per cent.

The Congress, meanwhile, had called the roll-back a mere eyewash by stating that it was the BJP itself which hiked the rates and “now they were pretending to understand the pain of people”.

Official records available stated that the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation is incurring an expenditure of Rs 215 crore per year on water supply and sewerage at present.

The Chief Engineer had also mentioned before the General House that Municipal Corporation is incurring Rs 215 crore on maintenance of water supply and sewage facilities to Chandigarh and 22 villages that are under its control.

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