The Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh is all set to hike the water tariffs in the city. Following objections raised by the Audit department over a loss of about Rs 82 crore incurred in 2017-18, the issue was scheduled for discussion in the general house.
The objection statement released by the Audit department said, “It has been noticed that there is a huge gap between the expenditure and revenue of water supply during the year 2017-18, as the expenditure and revenue was Rs 160.63 crore and Rs 78.74 crore, respectively. Thus, the Municipal Corporation (MC) has suffered a huge loss amounting to Rs 81.89 crore approximately on water supply during the year 2017-18. Losses have been an increasing over the years, from 47.98 crore in 2011-12, it has increased to Rs 81.89 crore for the year 2017-18.”
The agenda to hike water tariffs in the city was prepared by the officials of the Public Health wing earlier. However, as the corporation elections were due in December 2016, the agenda was held back and was not tabled for discussion in the general house. Moreover, the councillors proposed that in case of financial crunch, the MC should rent out its properties that were lying vacant. However, the agenda is most likely to be tabled in the current month’s general house meeting.
“The MC is already facing a financial crunch. It has not revised the water tariffs since May 24, 2011. It is also noticed that the tariffs are lower than the rates applicable in Mohali, Panchkula and Delhi. Therefore, it is advised that the rates are revised through general house of the MC to cover the loss of Rs 82 crore,” a communication sent to the MC commissioner said.
Further, the letter also said, “The water tariff applicable with effect from May 24, 2011 are required to be revised immediately as the MC is suffering a huge loss of nearly Rs 82 crore in a year. The accounts of water charges need to be maintained properly by the MC Public Health wing and by the accounts branch of the MC along with regular supervision by the higher authorities, especially with regard to the amount of water charges collected by SPIC through e-sampark centres and transferred to the MC bank accounts through Axis Bank.”