Inflated water bills have come as a shocker to city residents.
In October, BJP councillors had resolved in the House to roll back the three-fold water tariff hike and approved the notification seeking to withhold the nominal rates for water until the situation is ‘normal’.
However, nothing seems to have gone as per what was resolved. The General House recommended that till Covid-19 lasts, existing rates should be applicable.
However, the residents said that they were getting water bills at exorbitant rates.
In an example given by resident R K Garg about comparison of three water bills of his house received over a period of three months, he said that this time they have been charged at a 200 per cent hike.
From the bill period 29.2.2020 to 30.6.2020 (including lockdown period) where consumption was for four months, that is 334 K Ltr, the water charges were Rs 1,832.00.
It was excluding the sewerage charges 30% of water charges which were Rs 550.00, so the total bill issued was for Rs 2,482.00, that is Rs 7.43 per K Ltr.
Then for the bill period 30.6.2020 to 31.8.2020, where consumption was for two months (204 K Ltr), water charges were Rs 1,212.00. Sewerage charges were 30% of water charges Rs 364.00 and the total bill issued was for Rs 1,626.00, including maintenance and meter rental Rs 1626.00, that is it cost Rs 7.97 per K Ltr.
In the third example, Garg said that the bill dated 31.10.20 issued on average basis consumption 172 K Ltrs, he was billed Rs 1981 and sewerage charges 30% (that is Rs 594). Thus, his total bill came out to be Rs 2,634, including maintenance and meter rental, that is Rs 15.31 per K Ltr has been charged. The bill has been issued as per tariff revised with effect from September 14, 2020.
“It clearly tells us that first bill issued is at Rs 7.43 per K Ltr, second bill issued is at Rs 7.97 Per K Ltr and third bill issued is at Rs 15.31 Per K Ltr, which is more than 200% of first water bill within three months. MC has just started burning a hole in our pockets,” he said.
WHAT HAPPENED IN HOUSE
Due to heavy criticism by residents over the three-fold hike in water tariff, the BJP councillors had decided to put forth the agenda of water tariff for review. A consensus had already been reached among the BJP councillors, who are in majority, for opposing the hike as notified. In the General House, it was approved that rates be rolled back and until they are rolled back, existing rates be applied.
RWAs already against the hike
Calling the proposed hike unjustified and illogical, 700 members of various federating associations, trade unions and social organisations had walked from Sector 17 Plaza to MC office, opposing the hike. They were against high water rates.
It was stated by the resident welfare associations that “the municipal corporation is acting like the East India Company, leaving no stone unturned to loot the people of Chandigarh by imposing heavy and unjust taxes”. The protest had become wider with the Congress councillors, AAP party convenor and Pendu Sangarsh Samiti also joining the protest to show their solidarity with the FOSWAC on the issue of hike in water tariff.
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