Special Correspondent

BLP families to get 10,000 litres of water a month free of charge

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Cabinet on Wednesday decided to hike water charges from September for consumers using more than 5,000 litres of water a month. The average increase will be about 90 per cent of the earlier tariff.

The Cabinet also decided to provide up to 10,000 litres of water free of charge to families living below the poverty line (BPL) every month and write off their current arrears. The water connection charge for new BPL consumers will be halved (from Rs.500 to Rs.250). The tariff for consumers using up to 5,000 litres a month will remain at Rs.20. They constitute about 20 per cent of the consumers in urban areas and 25 per cent in rural areas.

The charges for consumers using 5,001 to 10,000 litres will go up by 20 to 100 per cent. While the first 5 kl (kilolitres) will be charged Rs.20, every kilolitre used in excess of the 5 kl will be billed at Rs.4 a kl against the earlier rate of Rs.2 a kl.

The rates will go up from 96 per cent to 80 per cent for the next slab of 10,001 to 20,000 litres a month. Besides Rs.40 for the first 10 kl, they will have to pay at the rate of Rs.5 a kl for additional usage. The majority of the consumers of the Kerala Water Authority (KWA) falls in this category. The previous rate for consumption in the 10 to 20 kl bracket was Rs.3 a kl.

For consumption in the next bracket of 20,001 to 30,000 litres, the rate will double from Rs.3 a kl to Rs.6 a kl. Considering the lower rates for the initial 20 kilolitres, the increase will be 80per cent to 87.5 per cent.

The hike will be steeper for the next bracket of 30,001 to 50,000 kl (87.5 per cent to 138 per cent). Every kilolitre of water used in the 30-50 kl bracket will cost Rs.14 against Rs.5 previously. For consumption above 50 kilolitres, the rate will be Rs.25 a kl against the current rate of Rs.7.35 a kl.

For non-domestic consumers, the charges will go up from Rs.7.35 a kl to Rs.10 a kl for consumption up to 15 kl a month. For consumption between 15 kl and 50 kl, the charge will go up from Rs.7.35 a kl to Rs.14 a kl. Consumption above 50 kl will be charged at Rs.25 a kl against the current rate of Rs.10 a kl. For industrial consumers, the charges will go up from Rs.10 a kl to Rs.25 a kl subject to a minimum of Rs.250 a month. The hike in minimum charge is only 25 per cent while the rate goes up by 135 per cent.

The hike will reflect in this month’s bill.

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