Government, Palike owe BWSSB crores in unpaid bills

Government, Palike owe BWSSB crores in unpaid bills

Meter errors, bill disputes add to arrears from domestic consumers

Government, Palike owe BWSSB crores in unpaid bills

Among the major debtors of the cash-strapped Bengaluru Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) are the State Government and the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), who have run up dues worth crores of rupees.

According to BWSSB’s data, the State Government owes the BWSSB Rs 17.30 crore while the BBMP owes it Rs 12.23 crore. However, the main culprits are domestic and non-domestic consumers, who owe the Board Rs 150.31 crore and 44.47 crore respectively.

The partial non-domestic consumers, whose premises are partially non-domestic and partially domestic, have not cleared pending bills worth Rs 12.96 crore. In all, the Board’s arrears are a whopping Rs 253.44 crore.

S Narahari, Executive Engineer (Revenue, Billing and Collection), BWSSB, told Deccan Herald that due to various reasons, arrears of domestic consumers are the highest. “Sometimes, bills are pending due to disputed amounts, erratic meter reading etc. Some issues can only be solved at revenue adalats. Besides, these outstanding arrears include the interest amount. We have not exempted the interest as a disincentive to delayed payments,” he said.

Paucity of funds

He added that due to paucity of funds, various State Government departments have higher arrears than Central Government departments and defence establishments. “For example, a fixed amount is collected from inmates of police quarters. But the billed amount is higher,” he said.

He said dues of Rs 55.76 lakh for supply of raw water from Hesarghatta in the past to the Indian Institute of Horticultural Research and some villages has been pending for several years.

Besides, Narahari said the BWSSB’s monthly revenue of Rs 90 crore is more or less equal to its expenditure. “Loans from financial institutions like the World Bank or Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) are raised to take up huge projects like water and sanitary infrastructure in new areas,” he added.

Meanwhile, BBMP mayor Manjunatha Reddy said pending bills were common between the departments, which are withheld due to various reasons. “Even the BWSSB owes the BBMP huge sums,” he said.

Special drive

BWSSB chairman T M Vijay Bhaskar said the Board has been conducting special drives every Wednesday only to recover arrears.

“We have been doing it for the last three months. This has brought in good results,” he told Deccan Herald.  Another BWSSB official said the Board recovered about Rs 6 crore in December due to special drives.

The arrears recovered were mainly from industries (Rs 9 lakh), BBMP (Rs 4 lakh), non-domestic connections (Rs 1 crore), domestic (Rs 4 crore) and partial non-domestic (Rs 64 lakh), he said.

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