The population spurt in city peripheries due to urban migration has resulted in the additional burden of crores of rupees for the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation (RWS) department of the Ranga Reddy district.
The department has received a notice from the Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board recently for payment of outstanding bills to the tune of Rs.20-crore. More interesting is the fact that nearly Rs.19 crore from the billed amount is for reasons other than usual billing for direct consumption.
“If the penalties for overdrawing, interest on the amount due, and sewerage charges are excluded from the amount, the Board itself would have owed us a return of Rs.80 lakh,” quips Jagadishwar Reddy, the Superintendent Engineer, Rural Water Supply, Ranga Reddy district.
Under the Comprehensive Protected Water Supply scheme, the department is tapping water from various points of the Krishna Phase-II and Manjeera Phase-I projects intended to supply water to the city. The tapping points include Ghatkesar, Sahebnagar, Autonagar, Gungal (Yacharam), Singapore Township, and Bojigutta (Rajendranagar), from where water is supplied to over 300 habitations in areas such as Maheshwaram, Ibrahimpatnam, Hayatnagar, Shankarpally, Rajendranagar, and Uppal.
According to the original agreement, the department was to pay a tariff of Rs.6 per kilolitre of water, which was later enhanced to Rs.10 per kilolitre, for predetermined quantities of water to be tapped from various points. For every kilolitre drawn over and above the limit, the department ought to pay a penalty of Rs.29 more, which gets rounded off at Rs.40 per kilo litre.
Due to the heavy migration of people from across the State to areas abutting the city, water drawn from the tapping points always crosses the limits originally agreed upon, resulting in the burden of heavy penalties on the department.
“The allocations were made based on the population figures as per the 2001 Census. But now, the population has increased tremendously in these areas due to urban migration, resulting in heavy overdrawals,” Mr.Reddy says.
Proposals were submitted to HMWS&SB two years ago, asking for enhancement of allocations for almost all CPWS schemes.
Enhancements have been proposed from the water tapping points at Sahebnagar, Gungal, Autonagar, Singapore Township and Ghatkesar. While the original agreement had envisaged supply of only 15.78 Million Litres per Day (MLD) from these points, now the requirement has gone up to 28.78 MLD, due to addition of nearly one lakh consumers.
The matter has been taken to the notice of the government, and the department is hopeful of a reasonable resolution in its favour.