Pay up arrears, Chennai water board urges government agencies as it steps up collection of dues

The water board has 9,370 notices to tax defaulters in various parts of Chennai; nearly ₹853.63 crore has been collected so far against the target of ₹1,440 crore for this fiscal year, say sources

Updated - February 18, 2023 10:42 pm IST

Published - February 18, 2023 09:07 pm IST - CHENNAI

The CMWSSB operates about 3,500 trips daily with 415 hired vehicles, spending about ₹70 crore a year.

The CMWSSB operates about 3,500 trips daily with 415 hired vehicles, spending about ₹70 crore a year. | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (CMWSSB) has issued nearly 9,370 notices to tax defaulters in various parts of the city to pay up the arrears. The board is continuing its vigorous collection drive to meet its target for the fiscal.

The board has written to various government agencies, which are bulk consumers, to pay arrears in water, sewer tax and charges. According to sources, nearly ₹853.63 crore of water and sewer tax arrears has been collected so far. The target demand for the fiscal is ₹1,440 crore, including arrears.

Many government agencies, including Greater Chennai Police, Tangedco and the Greater Chennai Corporation, use the water and sewer services. “We have written to the departments asking to remit arrears of about ₹150 crore. Water is supplied through tankers to such bulk consumers,” said an official.

On an average, the CMWSSB operates about 3,500 trips daily through 415 hired vehicles. “Long-pending dues add up to the burden of the water board. We pay about ₹70 crore to tankers that operate trips in a year,” the official said.

This year, a team of tahsildars and deputy collectors have been deputed to initiate action against defaulters, particularly commercial buildings, who have tax and charges pending for a minimum of five years. Eight buildings were sealed recently following which they cleared the dues.

Officials said there was a gap of 10%-15% between revenue and expenditure despite such vigorous collection drive. For instance, water production cost for surface water was now ₹7 to ₹8 a kilo litre. Similarly, production cost for desalinated water is ₹37 a kl.

Of the remaining outstanding amount to be collected, about ₹200 crore was pending because of court cases. On the residents’ demand to bring in uniformity in quantum of tax collected in core and added areas, officials said the same tariff structure of the erstwhile local bodies were being followed in merged areas and a decision was yet to be taken on the uniform tax.

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