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Andhra Pradesh - Hyderabad Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

One-time settlement of water bills a big hit with users

By Our Staff Reporter

HYDERABAD, AUG. 29. The Hyderabad Metro Water Supply and Sewerage Board is poised to notch up its highest monthly revenue ever this month. The collections could be anywhere around Rs. 18 crores to Rs. 19 crores as against the average of Rs. 12 crores, the HMWSSB managing director B.P. Acharya said here on Sunday.

This, he said, was a direct fallout of the one time settlement scheme introduced by the Board to enable water users clear their arrears, many running into several months and years.

80,000 clear arrears

According to an official estimate, about half the 4.5 lakh connections in the twin cities owe the Board arrears running into lakhs of rupees. "The number of users with dues is an astounding 2 lakh-odd and of them, we were able to make 80,000 users clear their arrears till Saturday under the one time settlement scheme. We still have a long way to go to bring everyone into the Board ambit fully," he maintained.

10 per cent waiver

The one time settlement scheme with an attractive offer of a 10 per cent waiver on the total arrears or facility for clearance in 10 instalments was introduced in June, but did not elicit much response initially. It was extended till August 31 again, bringing in a kind of windfall to the Board during the last few days.

The Board received Rs. 15.6 crores till Saturday in August while its all time high revenue was recorded in March 2002 when it touched Rs. 17.8 crores. "We are bound to cross this figure with bulk payments usually coming in during the last two days of the month," Mr. Acharya explained.

Disconnection move?

With August 31 being the last date for clearance of dues, the Board officials are contemplating disconnection of services to those who fail to clear their arrears. But, Mr. Acharya said disconnection was not on the cards right away. "We will review the situation and if there is a genuine demand, we will extend the deadline. We want people to pay. Disconnecting service will not be of any help," he said.

He, however, cautioned people that the Board would be compelled to disconnect if people do not clear their dues. "We might have to use it as a punitive measure to rein in erring consumers, but that will only be a last resort," he said.

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