Lack of kiosks hits BBMP bill collections

Lack of kiosks hits BBMP bill collections

Borewell charge introduced in CMC areas few months ago

Seven months down the line, 80 per cent of nearly two lakh households in these areas have not paid their borewell charges despite receipt of bills.

The reason - a crucial oversight by the BWSSB. That is non installation of bill payment kiosks. Incidentally, cash or cheques or demand drafts made through these swanky machines is the only mode of payment accepted by the Water Supply department.

The total borewell charges expected from these newly added BBMP areas was slated to touch Rs one crore a month. “Instead of Rs seven crore that the department was expected to collect during the period, only a sum of Rs 1.4 crore has been collected,” said a top BWSSB official.

Payment has only been made by those residing in the peripheral areas who have taken care to make their payments through kiosks in the core areas, he added. This has created a double burden to the BWSSB which took over the maintenance of the borewells from the BBMP on January 1, 2008. “The charges were announced mainly because of the costs involved in maintaining and recharging the borewells,” another source said.

While collection of borewell charges commenced in November 2008 in the core areas, the charges were announced only in May this year, for these eight urban local bodies, he added.

The power bills paid to BESCOM escalated by Rs 15.5 crore a month after the BWSSB took over responsibility for supplying water to the new areas from the BBMP. This was largely due to the power required to pump water from the borewells to the mini tanks that were created under the Mini Water Supply Scheme, initiated by the BWSSB in these areas.

Crucial problem

A top BWSSB official conceded that the inability of BWSSB to collect revenue from these areas was a crucial problem. However, he was optimistic that infrastructure related to collection would be in place before the supply of Cauvery water commences in these areas by the year 2011.

He adds, “The payment not being made would not be overlooked and would be collected as arrears later.” Apart from three more mobile payment kiosks for the CMC areas, 50 permanent kiosks would be installed at service stations within a year, he assured.