Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala Water Authority has done it again! Yet another consumer has been served a bill of a humungous Rs 2.15 crore that is owed to the public entity as arrears. Meanwhile, two CPM offices have received bills showing Rs 17.81 lakh dues.
CPM Local Committee Office - Secretary (Consumer Number VPR/118/N) at Manjumala, Vandipperiyar, in Idukki district has to pay the dues of Rs 12,47,163 and CPM Area Committee Office Kottayam (Consumer number – M 15/270 N) owes Rs 5,33,907 as pending arrears, the Water Authority revealed.
Rs 2.15 crore bill was received by a person staying near the District Collectorate in Thiruvananthapuram.
Renowned hospitals, resorts, places of worship, hotels, timber sawmills and such enterprises have pending dues running into lakhs. As many as 89 Irrigation section offices under the Water Resources Ministry also have to pay Rs 70,53,975.
This data is on the non-residential and commercial water consumers who have defaulted on water bill payments. Most consumers on the list have defaulted on payments for more than 10 years.
The non-residential/commercial consumers have not paid their dues despite getting a relaxation under an amnesty scheme. The KWA has to get back dues amounting to a total of Rs 118.79 crore under the non- residential/commercial section. This is classified as non-governmental arrears.
The KWA has not released the details of the private companies which have defaulted on their payments. The officials explained that this is because the companies registered as per the Company Act 1956 have not been specially marked in billing software.
Earlier, too there were several reports of ordinary consumers being sent water bill of enormous amounts. Considering the large number of complaints from consumers regarding excess water bills, the KWA had decided to initiate disciplinary action against meter readers who commit lapses. Incidentally, meter reading did not take place when the lockdowns imposed in view of the COVID-19 pandemic were in place. When the reading resumed, many consumers received bills that were over four times their normal amount and it was alleged that errors caused by meter readers had led to the situation.