Mysore/Mysuru: Following strong opposition from Corporators representing different political parties, the Mysuru City Corporation (MCC) has decided to drop its plans to increase domestic water charges.
The decision came from MCC Council after pressure from Corporators who argued that the proposed hike was unreasonable and placed an additional burden on public, especially considering recent increase in power tariff.
The meeting was held at Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar Hall last evening under the Chairmanship of Mayor Shivakumar. Deputy Mayor Dr. G. Roopa and MCC Commissioner G. Lakshmikantha Reddy were present.
MCC had previously raised water charges three years ago, but it failed to generate expected revenue. The proposed hike aimed to increase the minimum charges from Rs. 125 to Rs. 200 for consumption up to 25,000 litres.
The additional revenue was intended to cover expenses such as electricity, water treatment chemicals, staff salaries and loan repayments for the Melapura Drinking Water Project. The new tariff for other slabs was proposed to be hiked from Rs. 8 to Rs. 12 for 25,001 to 50,000 litres; from Rs. 12 to Rs. 17 for 50,001 to 75,000 litres; from Rs. 16 to Rs. 22 for 75,001 to 1,00,000 litres and from Rs. 20 to Rs. 27 for above 1 lakh litres.
During the Council meeting, Corporators from Congress, JD(S) and BJP, namely Ayub Khan, S.B.M. Manju, S. Usha and M.U. Subbaiah, expressed their opposition to the tariff hike. They highlighted concerns about the MCC’s mismanagement of Government-funded water projects, unregulated water connections, and the feasibility of increasing charges for drinking water.
They pointed out that people were already burdened with increased water charges, contrary to the tradition of the Maharajas of Mysore providing free water. They emphasised the availability of Government funding for water projects and urged the MCC to efficiently manage those funds.
They proposed addressing distribution system leakages and regularising illegal connections by installing water meters, as there are over 40,000 such connections. Besides, MCC should collect the outstanding amount pending since years from various consumers and defaulting Government Departments which would bridge the revenue deficit.
In response to these concerns, the Mayor announced withdrawal of proposed water tariff hike. He acknowledged the irregularities in water distribution and billing, emphasising the need to prioritise resolving these issues. A special meeting will be convened to address drinking water-related matters and find solutions.
The annual cost of water supply was estimated at Rs. 125 crore, with an additional Rs. 45 crore allocated for underground drainage maintenance. However, the billing only accounted for 145 million litres per day (MLD) out of the 335 MLD of water pumped to Mysuru, leaving 195 MLD unaccounted for.
Despite having 1.8 lakh metered connections, only a third of them were actively paying their bills. These issues were recognised as urgent and requiring immediate attention.
Mysore Palace water line linked to new apartment!
Corporator B.V. Manjunath raised the issue of the Mysore Palace facing a severe water crisis wherein the situation has come to supply water in tankers for over a month.
“The Palace had an exclusive water line connection and it is the residence of the Wadiyar family whose ancestors pledged their gold and diamonds to construct the Krishna Raja Sagar Dam that provides water to most of South India and to cities like Mysuru, Mandya and Bengaluru,” he said.
“The Palace water line was disconnected to facilitate a new bulk water connection for a newly constructed apartment nearby. This has caused disruptions to the Palace’s water supply. This type of situation has not arisen in the history of Mysore Palace and the city,” he regretted.
Responding to Manjunath, Mayor Shivakumar directed the officials to immediately take up the pipeline works and restore the regular water supply to the Mysore Palace.