J.S. Ifthekhar

Of 6.97 lakh consumers, only 2.65 lakh paid bills last month

Bills are generated only to those who are allotted consumer account number

Nearly 9,700 new connections sanctioned from 2004-2009 are yet to be given CAN

Hyderabad: Barking up the wrong tree. That’s what the Water Board seems to be doing. It never tires of crying hoarse about the outstanding dues of Rs. 300 crores. But the fact remains that not all the 6.97 lakh consumers are being served bills. Reason the Board is simply not able to generate bills for a large number of consumers.

Every month about 3,000 new water connections are issued. But not everyone of them gets a consumer account number (CAN) right away. And without this number no bill can be generated.

Take for instance the case of 2400 applicants who paid money and got new connections in 2004, but are yet to get their CANs. Similarly, 1,400 consumers who got connections in 2005 are awaiting CANs. Same is the case with 1500 consumers (2006), 700 (2007), 2000 (2008) and 1700 (2009).

Obviously these consumers are getting free water supply all these years as the fault lies with the Board for not issuing bills. The Board has woken up to this faux pas now as it started carefully going through the accounts to streamline the system.

It could be a case of data not being updated or plain negligence. “It is possible that some of the consumers might have paid bills and it is not shown in the accounts. We have to find out”, says Ashok Reddy, executive director, HMWSSB.

He said all the managers are now asked to cross check the data and make a physical verification of the connections issued during the last six years.

There are a total of 6.97 lakh CANs, including 80,000 in the surrounding municipalities. Of them last month only 2.65 lakh consumers paid bills. Four months ago this number was just 1.05 lakh.

In the subsequent months the number of bill payers increased to 2.05 lakh and 2.35 lakh. This month 3 lakh consumers are expected to pay bills.

The Board has decided to ensure cent percent generation and issue of bills to overcome the losses