‘BWSSB has to pay civic body several crores'
A cold war is on between the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) and the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP).
While BWSSB officials say that the palike owes nearly Rs. 160 crore to the water board towards water charges for its buildings and public taps, BBMP officials say the BWSSB also owes it several crores of rupees towards road-cutting charges.
After attempting several times to get the dues cleared, water board officials even sought BWSSB Minister S. Suresh Kumar's intervention and the issue was raised in several coordination meetings held between the two organisations. The officials even shot off a letter recently asking the palike to pay up immediately.
According to a top BWSSB official, the palike has to pay Rs. 148.75 crore for water supplied through 15,000 public taps up to December 2003. “Several public taps were removed after that. Although we still have nearly 8,000 public taps now, we are not claiming any charges after December 2003 following a direction from the Urban Development Department,” the official said.
That apart, the palike has to pay nearly Rs. 10 crore for water provided through 454 metered connections in the buildings run by the palike. These include ward offices, parks, dispensaries, maternity homes, schools and swimming pools, the official said.
The water bill for the BBMP swimming pool in Ulsoor now stands at Rs. 80 lakh, up from Rs. 3.5 lakh in July 2010. The BBMP sub-division office in Hebbal is one of the major defaulters in the city. It owes more than Rs. 20 lakh to the BWSSB.
Shifting of pipelines
That is not all. The palike also owes nearly Rs. 60 crore to the water board for shifting pipelines on roads where it plans to take up construction of underpasses, flyovers and work related to the widening of roads.
“With our monthly revenue of nearly Rs 40 crore, it is just enough to pay our power charges of around Rs. 32 crore and salaries of over Rs. 8 crore. We are running the show on a “no-loss no-profit” basis. As a result, we are finding it hard to take up maintenance works. All new projects are dependent on loans,” the official explained.
Appeal for waiver
BBMP Commissioner Siddaiah told The Hindu that the Palike and BWSSB owed each other crores. “It is a pending issue and we have appealed to the BWSSB Minister to get the charges raised towards supply of water through public taps waived. Water through the public taps is provided to slums where the poorest of the poor reside,” he said.
Pointing out that the water board owed nearly Rs. 20 crore to the palike towards road-cutting charges, Mr. Siddaiah said the Palike would soon clear the other dues.