Corporation owes Water Authority Rs. 30 crore

The State government will cut the annual plan fund of the Kochi Corporation for realising the dues of the civic body to Kerala Water Authority (KWA).

The cut in the plan fund is expected to hit the functioning of the civic body. The Corporation owes the authority around Rs. 30 crore.

The extent of reduction of the annual allocation will be known later as the civic body has requested that the dues shall be realised only in instalments.

A decision regarding the repayment of the dues was decided at a joint meeting of the officials of the Corporation and the authority at Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday.

The Corporation authorities argued at the meeting that only their dues and not contributions were estimated. The civic body had handed over its valuable assets to the authority along with the responsibility of supplying drinking water in the city. However, the value of the assets was not estimated, contended the corporation authorities.

The KWA is of the stand that the estimation of the assets should not be mixed with the dues and an independent evaluation of the assets can be carried out separately, said Asok Kumar Singh, managing director of the KWA.

According to K. J. Sohan, chairman of the Town Planning Standing Committee of the Kochi Corporation, who attended the discussion, the Corporation contended that the number of public taps in the city as projected by the KWA was unrealistic.

Though the KWA argued that there were 5,900 taps in the city, the real number was much less.

A study commissioned by the Corporation had revealed that there were 4,600 taps. The Corporation had to pay Rs. 5,250 per tap annually for providing drinking water, he said. The civic body also argued that it was spending considerable amount annually for replacing the damaged pipelines and restoring the roads that were trenched for laying pipelines.

The money shelled out on these counts also has to be accounted, the Corporation contended.

The meeting decided to carry out independent evaluation regarding the value of assets and the number of public taps in the city, said Ajit B. Patil, secretary of the Kochi Corporation who attended the meeting.

The Corporation has requested the government that the arrears shall be collected from its plan and own funds only in instalments.

A decision on the request is awaited, he said.

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