Monday, 30th October 2017

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Bid to hike water taxes

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By SUDHIR KUMAR MISHRA
  • Published 30.01.12
  •  

Ranchi, Jan. 29: Get prepared to pay an extra buck for quenching your thirst with running tap water.

The drinking water and sanitation department has asked the urban development department to revise water supply taxes — recommending a 40 per cent hike — to recover cost of maintenance of pipelines and other operations.

Sources said that the water taxes were last revised in 2006. Drinking water and sanitation department officials pointed out that the wholesale price index had gone up by 40 per cent since then, arguing that there should be a proportional increase in water tax for both domestic and commercial users.

At present, water tax is imposed either on the basis of consumption or in terms of distance between the building concerned and the treatment plant.

According to the proposal, the one-time water supply connection charges should be raised from Rs 1,500 to Rs 2,100 for both single-storied and multi-storied buildings (see box).

The department has also proposed a 40 per cent increase in water tax in terms of consumption, apart from a similar hike on charges based on distances from the buildings to treatment plants

Drinking and sanitation department engineer-in-chief Sajjad Hasan pointed out that the taxes were “last revised in 2005, but executed in June 2006”.

He argued, “There is acute scarcity of funds for maintenance. The municipal bodies do collect certain amounts in water taxes from various categories of consumers, but we don’t get anything. And, we cannot revise the water taxes on our own. It has to be done by the urban development department.”

He said that only 15,000-odd domestic consumers were liable to pay water taxes in Ranchi and around 1,800 in Dumka.

“The fact is that Ranchi has over 1 lakh domestic connections and Dumka around 26,000. Our budgetary provisions are nominal for maintenance works,” Hasan told The Telegraph.

Urban development secretary N.M. Kulkarni maintained that the Ranchi Municipal Corporation had already submitted the proposal for revision of water taxes and that it would be given the government’s sanction soon. The urban bodies have also been directed to liberally extend water connections to new consumers.

“As per new laws, giving water supply connections and collection of taxes is the responsibility of urban civic bodies. Earlier, the RMC alone collected holding taxes, which included water tax. While offering water supply connections, it demanded holding tax receipts or similar documents to certify the consumer’s ownership rights over the holdings. Now, we have clearly asked them to separate the components,” he added.

In reply to a question, Hasan pointed out that not a single bidder had qualified for executing water supply schemes in Chirkunda and Bhatinda of Dhanbad district and Parsabad in Koderma.

Fresh tenders will have to be floated again. However, work on other water supply schemes in Dhanbad, Giridih, Lohardaga and Gumla districts were progressing steadily, he added.