K’taka govt hints at increase in water tariff in Bengaluru

Bengaluru, June 19 (IANS) After the hike in fuel prices in Karnataka, the Congress government is mulling to increase the water tariff in Bengaluru.

Deputy Chief Minister D.K. Shivakumar said on Wednesday that the water tariff has not been increased for the last 10 years and there is no other option left but to review. He also added that he has asked officials to examine the issue.

Speaking to reporters here, he said, “The water tariff in Bengaluru has not been increased for 10 years, and we are suffering a great loss. We have taken on new projects, and no bank is coming forward to finance the Bengaluru Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB).”

“The fifth phase of the Cauvery project is going to be completed, and in 10 to 15 days, I will ensure the completion of the BWSSB work in this regard. Seventy per cent of the water bill is incurred through power bills and labour charges. Every year, we are suffering a big loss. Hence, there is no option. I am working out possibilities and discussing how to stabilize the company (BWSSB),” Shivakumar stated.

“Even the financing committee, the World Bank, and others are telling us that we are politicizing the issue and not even trying to bring it to a break-even level. This is what various officials and international banking staffers are conveying, he said.

“We have to expand the water distribution system. I have now allotted six TMC more water for Bengaluru. We have to undertake the work of one more phase to draw the water to provide for Bengaluru. There is no option unless we show them that the BWSSB is an independent company and works as an independent entity,” Shivakumar said.

When questioned about when the water tariff is going to be hiked, Shivakumar stated, “I have asked our officials to examine this issue. Ultimately, we will put it in the public domain, and then we will take a call.”



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