DHARMAPURI: Dharmapuri Municipality has disconnected water supply to 82 houses that defaulted on payment of water tax to the tune of Rs three crores, ranging between Rs 25,000 and Rs 73,000, accrued over a period of 10 years.
The civic body urged the households to pay the dues immediately to avoid facing action.
The quantum of tax dues surfaced when the municipality, which has 33 wards with more than 10,000 houses, reviewed the finances for the year 2019-2020.
The crackdown began early this month after Municipality Commissioner Chitra Sugumar passed an order.
Tamil Nadu Water and Drainage Board (TWAD) channelises water to the municipality after pumping it from Cauvery and filtering it and the civic body supplies it to every house under Hogenakkal Integrated Drinking Water Scheme.
While TWAD charges Rs 11.50 per 1,000 litres, the civic body sells it to households at Rs 5.50 per 1,000 litres, which is regarded as water tax,
an assistant engineer with the minicipality Ravikumar said, even as he attributed water shortage to tax dues accrued over ten years.
"TWAD supplies over sixty lakh litres of water per day and the municipality has to pay Rs 50 lakhs to the board every month. But because of the pending taxes, the municipality has become indebted to TWAD and there is a risk of the board disrupting water supply," Ravikumar said when asked about the rationale behind the supply disconnections.
According to sources, the municipality officials are also reviewing tax dues and more than a dozen teams have been formed to collect them.
The Commissioner said backlogs are also a result of several consumers approaching courts against the municipality alleging that it has charged exorbitant amount. She said the taxes have to be paid promptly, else the municipality have no choice but to reduce purchase of water from TWAD.