BENGALURU: Both state and Central government departments are the biggest defaulters on water bills. They owe Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) a little over Rs 50 crore in arrears and interest.
As per statistics provided by BWSSB, the accumulated arrears up to March 2018 stand at Rs 33.87 crore with interest on it, accumulated over many years, pegged at Rs 16.76 crore. In addition, the water bills of March (payable in April) for all departments add up to another Rs 2.67 crore.
“The pending dues were much higher but many departments have paid off some part of the dues in March as the previous financial year was drawing to a close. This hurried payment is a regular feature annually,” said a senior Water Board official.
The police department tops the list with Rs 13.13 crore in dues from its employees quarters and its police stations. The interest amount due works out to Rs 1.44 crore. Next stands the Education department, which owes the Board Rs 3.55 crore plus interest of Rs 27.79 lakh. The health department is another big defaulter with Rs 2.43 crore pending, while the Public Works Department owes the BWSSB Rs 3.53 crore.
When it comes to Central government agencies, the Railways is the biggest defaulter. It owes the water board Rs 5.32 crore, including interest of Rs 43.4 lakh. The Railway employee housing quarters spread across the City and outskirts owe bills totalling Rs 2.38 lakh. The Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation owes the board Rs 45.31 lakh and interest of Rs 43,000, the figures reveal.
Different departments of the BBMP including education, horticulture, swimming pools, market yards, educational institutions, Sulabh Souchalya, public urinals and maternity homes, totally owe the BWSSB Rs 4.4 crore, excluding interest. Asked why no action can be initiated to collect such huge dues, BWSSB Engineer-in-Chief of H M Ravindra said, “These are all essential services.”
Another official said, “We keep sending them repeated reminders. Whenever they have excess money, they pay up. Some of them do it once in six months or annually.” Asked about the status of non-payment by private entities, the official said, “Every Wednesday, arrears collection drives are undertaken and private firms are made to pay up.”