THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Government offices, hospitals, clubs, educational and religious institutions have earned top positions in the dubious list of Kerala Water Authority’s (KWA) big defaulters that are virtually pouring cold water over the public sector body’s struggle to rise out huge financial crises. The major defaulters owe the ailing KWA a whopping Rs 1,117 crore at a time when it is staring at a cumulative loss of Rs 4,600 crore. Twenty-nine revenue divisions (also called public health divisions) of KWA have initiated steps to find the defaulters as part of improving the Authority’s revenue. The list shows that some organisations have not paid their dues since the late 90s.
The Thiruvananthapuram Public Health division (North) which is the most revenue generating division of the KWA has Rs 438 crore as outstanding dues of which around 160 defaulters owe over and above a sum of Rs 25 lakh. The division in Kochi, that comes second in terms of revenue generation, will finalise the list of defaulters within a week.
The key defaulters include Corporation of Kochi, Government Law College, Thiruvananthapuram, Trivandrum Golf Club, Vettucaud church, Hotel Nalukettu, Indian Evangelical Lutheran Church, Thiruvananthapuram, offices under City Police Commissioner, University men’s hostel.
The rather cold attitude of the defaulting government organisations and unhealthy government intervention are the key reasons for the poor financial health of the public sector undertaking. The list collected by the KWA shows that many defaulters have not even paid a part of the due. A KWA officer involved in the decision to cut connection at NGO quarters in Kozhikode due to accumulated arrears however was unsuccessful in his mission as the connections had to be restored due to government intervention. “The accumulated dues are not realistic. It includes fines, penalties, accumulated interests, unidentified connections. Our field officer have done a fine job in identifying unidentified connections, meeting people and sending notices in an effort to streamline the revenue,” the officer said.
He said it was important to mop up the revenue as the organisation is facing a monthly shortfall of Rs 30 crore. The southern region of KWA has a revenue target of Rs 307 crore, central region Rs 272 crore and Kozhikode Rs 63 crore for the financial year ending on March 31. KWA makes a loss of Rs 13.5 when it produces 1,000 kilo litres of water. It spends Rs 23 and realise a revenue of Rs 9.
The officers of KWA have been mooting adalats to meet the revenue targets and offer a solution to the defaulters before initiating revenue recovery measures. “The adalat can find a solution to the arrears as KWA could offer a one-time settlement, leak benefit, write off compounding interest etc to consumers,” said Santhosh Kumar R V, president of Association of Kerala Water Authority Officers.
The authorities are planning to go ahead with snap the water connection at the district office of KUWJ Kesari Memorial Trust that owes close to 54 lakh, on January 24.