HMWSSB to invoke Revenue Recovery Act to realise arrears
The Water Board has decided to invoke Revenue Recovery Act to realise its arrears. It has already served 300 ‘red notices’ to chronic defaulters and if they fail to respond, they would be proceeded against under the RRA. The matter has been referred to Chief Commissioner of Land Administration (CCLA) and the Board is awaiting the government’s nod to go ahead.
However, till then it plans to take the help of district Collectors of Hyderabad and Ranga Reddy to recover the dues under RRA. The Act empowers attachment of mobile and immobile properties of the defaulters. The Board has taken recourse to this stern measure in view of its mounting dues. However, even before the Act is imposed in its totality, the red notices are proving effective in bringing in the revenue.
For the first time in its history, the Board is able to cross the barrier of 4 lakh paid CANS (Consumer Account Numbers). In March, a record 4.04 lakh consumers out of 8 lakh paid their bills pushing the Board’s monthly revenue to Rs. 53 crore. The last highest number of consumers who paid bills in a month are 3.82 lakh. The Board aims at netting an average monthly revenue of Rs. 60 crore by raising the number of paid CANS per month to 4.3 lakh.
“Achieving this target will be easy with the recruitment of 90 new managers soon. They have been selected through APPSC,” said J. Syamala Rao, managing director, HMWSSB.
The Board has identified 1,632 consumers who owe more than Rs. 1 lakh in arrears. The Board is in the process of compiling a list of 20 such defaulters in each division for forwarding to the district Collectors for recovery of dues under RRA.
This apart, the Board is now more worried about its rising power bill. With the latest hike in power tariff, the Board’s power bill is expected to jump from Rs. 34 crore to Rs. 48 crore a month. This figure may go up further when the Board starts pumping water in the days to come as the falling water level in reservoirs makes drawal by gravity impossible. When the power tariff was last revised on December 1, 2011, the Board was paying Rs. 24 crore per month.
Interestingly, the Board itself owes a whopping Rs. 180 crore towards power bill arrears. But right now it is able to pay only the current month bills. All these issues are proposed to be discussed in the next Board meeting and also taken up with the Municipal Administration Minister, it is said.