KWA to trim huge arrears, to cut water supply to defaulting govt & PSU offices

Unable to collect Rs 1500 crore in arrears, Kerala Water Authority reels under financial crisis
Representational image: wk1003mike/Shutterstock

Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala Water Authority (KWA) has decided to disconnect water supply to government offices and public sector undertakings which have defaulted on paying water charges for several years.

The total arrears from these institutions come to Rs 1,643 crore and KWA has set a target to collect Rs 821 crore by March 31 this year.

Initially, efforts would be made to collect the dues from the Health Department and the local self-government (LSG) bodies, which are the biggest defaulters. KWA is yet to receive Rs 955 crore as water charges from public taps alone and Rs 127.52 crore from the Health Department.

Considering the common need, connections of public taps will not be cut. Instead, those of LSG offices would be disconnected. Similarly, hospitals, being an essential service, would be spared and water supply to Health Department offices would be disconnected.

As a first step, a letter will be sent to the defaulters. Subsequently, a disconnection notice would be served on them. Disconnection is the third step. A circular on these proposed measures was issued by KWA’s chief accounts officer and finance manager V Shijith after a meeting convened by KWA managing director S Venkatesapathy.

KWA is planning to collect the arrears before the latest hike in water tariff announced by it comes into effect on April 1 this year.

The KWA currently spends Rs 23 for treating and distributing 1,000 litres of water. But on an average, the KWA receives only Rs 11 from consumers. Moreover, the Kerala State Electricity Board Limited (KSEBL) is charging a higher tariff for supplying electricity to the KWA's water treatment plants by including it in the category of industrial units. The KWA currently owes the KSEB an arrears of over Rs 1,000 crore under this head.

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