Mangaluru City Corporation council resolved in its meeting on Friday that no penalty will be imposed on water consumers henceforth for not repairing or changing their faulty water meters.
Instead, those consumers who have not repaired or changed their faulty meters should be issued water bills on the basis of average quantity of water consumed during the period of the first and the subsequent water bills issued. It is as per the 1981 bylaws of the corporation pertaining to water supply. And, the civic body will no longer continue with the practice of imposing penalty which came into being on the basis of a resolution passed by the council on August 27, 1992.
The council decided to do away with the system of imposing penalty as there is no legal basis for it. This was on vogue for the past about three decades. In addition, such consumers by objecting had also been requesting the civic body not to impose the penalty.
Speaking at the meeting, Leader of Opposition A.C. Vinayraj said that neither the water supply bylaws of the corporation nor the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act 1976 permitted imposing penalty.
Mayor Premananda Shetty said that there is no question of imposing penalty henceforth. He was not sure why the council had passed such a resolution (imposing penalty) about three decades ago.
Opposition Congress councillors demanded that the civic body should slash the water tariff revised for domestic consumers from April 1, 2019. It continues to be a burden on consumers, they said.
The then administrator of the corporation had revised the minimum tariff from ₹65 for consumption up to 24,000 litres (or 24 kilo litres) to ₹56 for consumption up to 8,000 litres (or 8 kilo litres). Hence, the maximum quantity of water which can be used within the range of minimum tariff fixed had been reduced from 24,000 to 8,000 litres.
The tariff revised to the next three levels of slabs or categories were: ₹9 per each kilo litre for above 8 kilo litres and up to 15 kilo litres category; ₹11 per each kilo litre for above the 15 kilo litres and up to 25 kilo litres category and ₹13 per each kilo litre for above the 25 kilo litres category. As per the revision, the six earlier slabs or categories had been revised to four slabs or categories.
Responding to it, Corporation Commissioner Akshy Sridhar told the council that the government has in a letter on May 5, 2021 clarified that tariff cannot be slashed.
Mr. Vinayraj said that the BJP councillors and MLAs could have led a delegation to the government to convince it of the need to slash water tariff during the last four months.
Replying to it, the Mayor said that the government will be requested again to re-consider its stand.
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