Three months after the move met with stiff opposition from elected representatives, the SCB is proposing a hike in water tariff again

After a gap of nearly three months, the Secunderabad Cantonment Board (SCB) is making yet another attempt to increase water charges.

During the last board meeting held in November, the authorities had proposed to increase the minimum monthly charges for domestic consumers from Rs.125 to Rs.285. For apartment buildings having common water connection, the proposed hike is from Rs. 1,250 to Rs. 2,815.

The move fell through following stout opposition from elected members. Yet, undeterred, the SCB authorities are gearing up to introduce the proposal again at the next board meeting to be held shortly.

Officials point out that the Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (HMWSSB), which supplies about 45 lakh gallons per day to SCB, had already increased the water charges from Rs. 6.50 per kilolitre to Rs. 13.50 per kilolitre since November 2011.

Every month, the SCB’s monthly water bill is nearly Rs.1.06 crore, while the revenue collected from residents is just Rs. 30 lakh. “If not Rs. 285 per month, it has to be increased to at least Rs. 230 or Rs. 250, otherwise it would make things difficult for us,” says an SCB official.

There are nearly 15,000 water connections in over 300 residential colonies and 125 slums in the area. Last time, water charges were increased from Rs. 86 per month to Rs. 125 in June, 2008.

Since then, the demand has gone up and so have maintenance costs. Electricity charges have gone up, and about Rs.20 lakh is required for power supply and maintenance of pump houses in SCB, he adds.

“If all these factors are considered, the cost per kilolitre will be about Rs. 18, but we are planning to collect Rs. 13.50 per kilolitre only as charged by HMWSSB,” defends the official.

In addition, there is a plan to revise and double water connection deposits. From the current Rs. 4,000 and six months minimum charges as deposit for individual houses, the hike proposed is Rs. 8,500 and six months minimum charges as deposit.

Likewise, the deposit amount for apartments could be hiked to Rs. 9,000 per flat from the existing Rs. 5,000. The authorities are planning to increase regularization charges too of unauthorized water connections from Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 18,000.

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