Chennai

Water tanker contractors press for hike in charges

Tanker contractors have sought 30% hike in charges from the water board.

Tanker contractors have sought 30% hike in charges from the water board.   | Photo Credit: VIDITI AJEET SAXENA

Association plans to halt operations after July 10 if its demands are not met

The Metrowater Tanker Lorry Contractors’ Association has sought an increase in hire charges in the wake of input costs going up, including prices of fuel. The association said it might not be able to operate water tankers in the city after July 10 if the same situation continued.

Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board has hired about 650 water tankers for street supply and for prepaid trips to individual houses. The city is supplied with 700 million litres of water on alternate days.

The association, in a representation to the board, said the price of diesel had gone up by ₹9 a litre. a tanker lorry used three litres of diesel for each trip. Moreover, insurance premium and cost of spare parts had also increased.

Association president P.S. Sundaram said the three-year contract period was supposed to end on June 7. The tender process has been postponed because of the lockdown. The present contract had been extended by three months. Tenders for the next contract were expected to be invited by July-end.

“We have sought a hike of 30% in hire charges for the extension period to compensate the loss incurred. We are operating lorries at a lower rate because of competition during the previous tender in 2017. For instance, a 9,000 litre lorry trip is being operated for a rate of ₹369 instead of the previous rate of ₹420,” he said.

Moreover, expenditure towards the salary of drivers and cleaners had increased during the lockdown period. It would be difficult to operate trips with continuous losses, he added. Members complained of pending bill payments for the past two months.

Officials’ response

Officials of the water board said about 5,700 trips were operated daily.

The contract period was extended with the consent of lorry owners. Fresh tenders had been postponed to July 31.

Moreover, variations in fuel price and labour charges were being compensated during the contract period. The water lorry contractors would be compensated for the recent fuel price hike and payments made on time. Measures would be taken to ensure that the water tanker supply was not disrupted in the city, an official said.

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Printable version | Jul 9, 2020 11:17:10 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/water-tanker-contractors-press-for-hike-in-charges/article31949233.ece

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