Water tariff increased by 71 p.c.

BANGALORE, DEC. 22. The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) has increased the tariff by about 71 per cent for domestic consumers with effect from December 1.

The increase is expected to net Rs. 15.42 crore to Rs. 21.28 crores for the BWSSB, resulting in 38 per cent increase in the revenue.

The BWSSB Chairman, Mr. M.N.Vidyashankar, told presspersons here on Saturday that the general revision of tariff had not been effected since 1995. The collection of separate sanitation charges, which was in vogue till 1995 at 30 per cent of the water charges, was merged with water charges subsequently. The board now proposed to levy 20 per cent of the water charges as sanitation charges.

Similarly, meter hire charge was increased from Rs. 3 (though BWSSB collects Rs. 5) to Rs. 10 for domestic meters with 12.7 mm meter. Similar increase was applicable to meters with larger sizes.

With the result, the minimum tariff for domestic consumers, which is at Rs. 70 a month -- Rs. 65 towards water charges and Rs. 5 towards meter hire - will go up to Rs. 118 - Rs. 90 towards water, Rs. 10 towards meter and Rs. 18 towards sanitation charges (20 per cent of the water charges).

Mr. Vidyashankar said the board, however, increased only the minimum water charges for non-domestic consumers from Rs. 275 a month to Rs. 330 a month. The non-domestic consumers, mainly hotels, had been buying water from private parties as the present tariff was on a higher side. Similarly, there was no change in tariff for industries and for swimming pools, the minimum of which was at Rs. 60. BWSSB had increased the tariff of public taps from Rs. 2,680 to Rs. 3,000, which was payable by the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike.

He said more than 60 per cent of the revenue earned by the BWSSB would go towards power tariff. The revision was essential for regular maintenance and upgradation works, he said. He said the sanitation charges, which was now separated from water charges, was the lowest when compared with 60 per cent of water charges in Mumbai, 35 per cent in Hyderabad and 35 per cent in Chennai, he said.

The board was incurring a deficit of Rs. 6 crore every month under the existing tariff, and with the present revision, it could make out only the deficit, Mr. Vidyashankar said. The new tariff would be collected in the bill for the month of January, and for consumers, who had already paid their bills due to different billing-cycles, it would be collected as arrears, he added.

Domestic consumers in high-rise buildings, apartments, and other local bodies around the City would be charged at Rs. 90, in addition to meter charges and sanitation charges wherever applicable per connection. Similarly, those consumers who got only sanitation service from the BWSSB with water supply from other sources, the sanitation charges had been increased from Rs. 15 a month to Rs. 20 (domestic), Rs. 25 to Rs. 30 (apartments and high-rise buildings), Rs 100 to Rs. 200 (hotels with only boarding facility), Rs. 250 to Rs. 500 (hotels with both boarding and lodging), Rs. 100 to Rs. 200 (non-domestic commercial establishments), and Rs. 150 to Rs. 200 (industries and workshops).