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HEC on water cess

- Company denies profit charge

Heavy Engineering Corporation Ltd (HEC) authorities on Tuesday said the corporation’s decision to hike water cess collected from all residents and commercial establishments in its township at Dhurwa was not an attempt at earning more money.

“Selling water and earning profits from it is not our core business. Our core competence is in the areas of steel, mining, defence, space research, nuclear and atomic energy, railways, power etc. We are not in the business of selling drinking water to domestic households and commercial establishments,” Col (Retd) Subhra Banerjee, director personnel of HEC said.

Vide a circular dated May 31, 2006, the government of Jharkhand had raised the rates for supply of drinking water to all households and commercial establishments.

The state drinking water and sanitation department has already billed HEC as per the increased water tariff with retrospective effect from June 2006. “HEC is a commercial organisation. It does not receive any grants from the government. Hence HEC has to recover the costs it incurs in supplying water to residents, including employees,” the director (personnel) clarified.

Banerjee’s remarks followed protests by various HEC trade unions against the hike in water cess by 25 to 43 times. Whilst employees residing in the HEC township were being charged Rs 6 to Rs 14 a month, they would now be levied a minimum of Rs 150 per month to Rs 600 per month.

Effective with retrospective effect from August 1, 2009, HEC quarters with an area of up to 100sqm would now be charged Rs 150 per month compared to Rs 6 earlier. Quarters with an area of 101sqmto 200sqm would be charged Rs 250 per month, up from Rs 10, whilst residences spread over 201sqm to 300sqm would be charged Rs 400 per month compared to Rs 12. Quarters above 300sqm would be charged Rs 600 per month.

Not convinced, Hatia Mazdoor Union has decided to go on a day’s strike on September 28 over the issue.