Hyderabadis should prepare for a possible water tariff hike. The Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (HMWSSB) is bent on raising water charges notwithstanding resentment from various consumer welfare organisations.
A team of officials from the Board is shortly leaving for Chennai, Bangalore and other metropolitan cities to study the water and sewerage tariff there.
After its return, the team will make a fresh proposal to the government for hike in the water charges in the light of its study. A couple of months back, when the Board broached the matter with Chief Minister, K. Rosaiah, the latter wanted it to come back after a comprehensive study of the situation in other metros.
Board officials will also try to find out how the high-end bulk consumers are being charged and whether any concession is extended to those who are maintaining sewerage treatment plants. The 30-odd STPs maintained by industries here want the Board to give concession in the sewerage cess, it is said.
The last tariff revision was made in February 2005 when the differential slab system was introduced. Officials feel that the hike in water and sewerage charges has become imperative in view of the rising operational costs of pumping Krishna water.
Mounting power consumption charges are putting a heavy burden on the Board's finances. Of its monthly expenditure of Rs. 45 crore, the power charges towards pumping alone accounts for Rs. 17 crore.
The interest and principal payment on borrowings put a further stress of Rs. 8 crore. The Board is thus left with a huge deficit of Rs. 5 crore every month.
Under these circumstances officials feel hike in the tariff structure is must. Moreover, it is long overdue and much below that of other metropolitan cities, it is said.