The Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (HMWSSB) is on the verge of a financial breakdown with its deficit rising every month. It has gone up from Rs. 5 crore in April to Rs. 30 crore now following upward revision of the power tariff.

The worried Board has sent a SOS to the government to either permit it to increase the water tariff or support it with grants.

However, senior officials are not very hopeful of Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, also the Board chairman, of allowing revision of water tariff in the election year but they expect the government to at least find a way out for the Board. Water tariff was last raised in December 2011 after a gap of nine years.

The power tariff hike effected by the A.P. Electricity Regulatory Commission in April has only added to its woes.

Power bill shoots up

The power bill has shot up from Rs. 35 crore to Rs. 55 crore per month. The problem is further compounded with the wide gap between its earnings and expenditure. While the Board gets revenue of Rs. 63 crore per month its overheads run into Rs. 93 crore.

A warning

'“If this huge deficit is not bridged the Board will simply collapse,” remarked Managing Director J. Syamala Rao. The Water Board is not in a position to clear its power dues amounting to Rs. 300 crore. It is only paying the heavy interest of Rs. 4.5 crore on the arrears at the rate of 18 per cent. A sum of Rs. 5 crore also paid towards repayment of loan taken for the Krishna Phase I project.

Revenue impacted

The 20 mgd deficit supply of water has also impacted its revenue by about Rs. 9 crore since April.

The Board wants the government to direct GHMC to pay 25 per cent of its property tax collection as mandated. “GHMC owes Rs. 400 crore and if this is paid our power bill arrears will be wiped out,” Mr. Rao said.

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