Karnataka

Water dues: MCC may soon issue notices to defaulters

Even as drinking water dues continue to mount and appeals from the cash-strapped Mysuru City Corporation (MCC) for clearing the dues go unheeded, the MCC is now mulling over slapping notices on the defaulters for clearing at least some portion of the dues if not fully.

Surprisingly, many government institutions, including the gram panchayats which are now part of the city and get bulk water supply from the MCC, owe dues to the tune of crores of rupees because of non-payment since over a decade.

The MCC has started the process of computing the exact sum of dues owed by the government bodies besides making a final assessment of the total outstanding from domestic, commercial and industrial connections though the outstanding dues approximately were around Rs 150 crore. The government institutions alone owe nearly ₹g40 crore to the MCC.

Notices may soon be issued to the defaulters as the MCC’s revenue had been hit due to COVID-19 pandemic and there are also appeals from various trade bodies for tax waiver citing the pandemic.

Besides water dues, non-payment of property tax has also worried the MCC which had recently carried out a drive for its recovery. The MCC owes over Rs 100 crore to the contractors who had carried out various development works. If the taxes remain unpaid, works would get affected because of non-payment of bills, the officials argue.

The MCC is also planning to approach the Department of Rural Development and Panchayat Raj to prevail upon the GPs for clearing the dues.

MCC Commissioner Gurudatta Hegde said the GPs that get bulk water supply from the MCC for subsequent distribution in their limits had been seeking revision of rates since they argue that raw water was being supplied to them unlike the filtered water supplied to the connections within the city. Their argument was that same rates for filtered and unfiltered water should not be charged, he said, adding that the MCC had been supplying water to the GPs from nearly three pumping stations since past 15 years.

“The issue on the rates could be sorted out if the GPs come forward to clear the dues which had been accumulated since a long time. Otherwise we may have to approach their mother department if the dues continue to remain unsettled,” Mr Hegde said.

In one of the council meetings last year that debated about the water bills dues, the council was told that unpaid water bills had accrued to the tune of Rs 169 crore. This included Rs 88 crore that was carried forward to the MCC’s account after the Vani Vilas Water Works (VVWW), an arm of KUWSSB, was identified to manage water distribution here on behalf of MCC.

The government institutions alone owe Rs 39.32 crore of water bill dues to the MCC. The MCC has claimed to have been doing letter correspondences with the institutions for “one-time” payment of dues but the dues have continued to mount. The gram panchayats owe Rs 19 crore water dues.

The MCC has also written to the State government seeking its nod to waive off interest accrued on the principal amount of water tax for one-time settlement of dues. This will help the MCC get more revenue and also benefit the consumers as they get relief from paying the interest. “So far, there is no decision on the interest waiver,” the MCC commissioner said.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2021 9:45:46 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/water-dues-mcc-may-soon-issue-notices-to-defaulters/article33201521.ece

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