Water Board considering four options

A decision on increasing the water tariff in Bangalore is expected in about two days with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah empowering the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) to take a call on the matter, and the latter in turn commencing discussions on the quantum of hike.

In other words, Bangaloreans should gear up to pay more for water supply from next month. The BWSSB, that met on Monday, is believed to be working on four options to come out with a reasonable hike.

BWSSB chairperson M.S. Ravishankar told The Hindu after the board meeting that the board members would study the options and arrive at a consensus on the hike. “We will take a final call on Tuesday or Wednesday after the members give their opinion. The new tariff will be effective from next month,” he said. Pointing out that the water charges had not been hiked since 2005 although power charges were raised at least eight times, Mr. Ravishankar said the hike was imminent now. “While our monthly expenses are nearly Rs. 75 crore, the revenue generation is only Rs. 50 crore. Our annual power charges have gone up from Rs 220 crore in 2005 to Rs 374 crore now,” he said.

He said the Board did not want to bridge the revenue-expenditure deficit (which is nearly Rs 30 crore now) at one go. “We have not revised the tariff in nine years. But that does not mean we want to recover the deficit in one revision itself. The idea is to ensure that the hike is viable for both the citizens and the BWSSB,” he said.

However, he added that the proposal was to bring down the revenue deficit to the minimum possible level.

Highly placed sources in the Urban Development Department said that although the Chief Minister had authorised the Board to take a final call on the tariff revision, the final rates will be announced only after the Chief Minister’s approval.

BWSSB officials have been insisting on a reduction in the number of slabs from eight to five for both domestic and non-domestic connections. They want the present minimum slab of 0-8,000 litres to be revised to 0-6,000 litres. They also want the minimum rate of a kilolitre of water to be revised from Rs. 6 to Rs. 12.

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