The Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (VMC) is all set to fix 10,000 water meters in the first phase. The exercise to fix the water meters for Household Service Connections (HSCs) will start shortly. As a step in that direction, the corporation will first revise the water tariff. The new tariff will come into force from April 1.
The corporation officials cite the gross mismatch between expenditure and recoveries on supply of safe drinking water the reason for increasing the tariff and fixing water meters. The corporation is presently spending about Rs.20.50 crore on safe drinking water supply to the public. However, it is recovering only 40 per cent of the expenditure.
The water charges for Below Poverty Line (BPL) families will be Rs.75 as against existing Rs.50 per month. The tariff for general category will be based on the property tax paid. The VMC has created three slabs – Rs.125, Rs.175 and Rs.250 – based on property taxes paid by the residents. A minimum charge of Rs.300 will be collected from each HSC. A water meter will be fixed for every HSC that pays more than Rs.1,500 towards the property tax.
The VMC has been providing the citizens connections at a subsidised rate of Rs.200. It is charging the Above Poverty Line (APL) households Rs.200 and the BPL households Rs.50. In 2003 the VMC increased the tariff from Rs.50 to Rs.100 per HSC. Later, it was brought down to Rs.80 in 2005.
In the CDP, VMC has stated that a total of Rs.1.30 crore will be spent on fixing water meters during the seven financial years between 2005 and 2012.
The VMC in 2007 had planned to purchase of 2.6 lakh water meters at an estimated cost of Rs.50 crore. However, it could not materialise due to stiff resistance from political parties.
The corporation gave a commitment in the CDP to spend Rs.18 lakh in the first year, followed by Rs.29 lakh in second year, Rs.39 lakh in third year, Rs.20 lakh in fourth year, Rs.13 lakh in the fifth year, Rs.6 lakh each in sixth and seventh years for fixing water meters to all domestic connections in addition to the expenditure for metering all connections of bulk consumption.