Metering will help them in increasing their revenue: task force
The Task Force for Implementation of the Third Finance Commission's Recommendations on Tuesday said that the urban bodies and gram panchayats should take steps to fix meters to water connections. This would not only help them in increasing revenue but also in better utilisation of water. If meters were not fixed to water connections, the grants given to urban bodies and panchayats by the State government would be stopped, task force members said at review meetings held in the Mangalore City Corporation (MCC) and in the zilla panchayat here.
Task force Chairman A.G. Kodgi and members T. Thimme Gowda and Mahendra Kanti participated in the meetings.
The task force stressed the need for fixing meters and periodic revision of water tariff. It also sought details regarding property tax collection and issuing trade licence.
Mr. Kodagi said the State government made it mandatory for the urban local bodies to fix meters to water connections. Collection of water tariff and property taxes and trade licence fee would make panchayats self-reliant. Metering of water connections would go a long way in preventing wastage of water.
In the case of MCC, the consumption of water had been 280 LPCD (Lakh Per Capita Daily) for the city's population of five lakh. “There will be no water scarcity if connections are metered,” Mr. Kodagi said.
He did not accept a councillor's view that malfunctioning of meters was because of saline water. “Three years ago, Kundapur faced water shortage. With meters, there is surplus water. Kundapur is now supplying water to five gram panchayats,” he said.
MCC Commissioner Harish Kumar said the corporation had disconnected 350 public taps. “We will be giving water connections to houses in the area and then disconnect the public taps,” he said.
About the status of revision of water tariff, Mr. Kumar said a few months ago the Urban Development Department sent to the corporation the revised rates.
The department said the revised rates should be applied following approval from the corporation's Council. Mr. Kumar said the Council refused to accept the tariff. Accordingly, the State government had been intimated.
“If you are saying no to revision of water tariff and also for metering connections, then the Council went against the spirit of Karnataka Municipal Corporation Act,” Mr. Kodagi said.
The task force members wanted gram panchayats also to revise tariff from time to time.
They expressed displeasure over the tardy progress in bringing properties under the tax net in the Mangalore City Corporation and the zilla panchayat limits.
Mr. Kodagi expressed the need for property registers, which would include all properties exempted from payment of tax.
The members were surprised that the corporation did not have a list of trade outlets that functioned without licence.