Delhi Jal Board awaiting dues from civic bodies

The Delhi Jal Board may have had its accounts sealed by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi for non-payment of dues, but the water utility says it is in no mood to pay it back in the same coin. After sending repeated reminders to the MCD, the Jal Board is still waiting for outstanding dues amounting to Rs. 25 crore to be paid up. The MCD and the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) together owe the Jal Board a whopping Rs. 125 crore. “We have written letters to both the MCD and the NDMC reminding them about the pending dues, our CEO has also spoken to the MCD Commissioner and the NDMC Chairperson, but the money has not yet been released,” said a senior Jal Board official. He was, however, quick to point out that unlike the MCD, which moved ahead and sealed their accounts, the Jal Board “prefers to wait”. The NDMC, according to the official, owes the Jal Board Rs. 100 crore as charges for consuming water for horticulture and toilet purposes. “The Delhi Development Authority also owes us Rs 40 crores against installation of infrastructure in Dwarka,” the official said. He, however, declined to comment on whether the utility has been unable to meet its revenue collection target. According to sources, the Jal Board has been unable to meet the revenue collection target and the shortfall in revenue collection could be as high as Rs. 50 crores. “We do not anticipate not being able to meet our targets. We have stepped up the process of recovering the outstanding dues. There has been a boost to the recovery process,” he said. “Following protests against the increase in water charges, the Government had to announce a rollback. This has severely affected revenue collection, besides there are several Government departments that have not paid their dues. There were also many cases where the billing was wrong and the Board had to rectify the bills that were inflated,” a source said. But Jal Board officials maintained that the process is being streamlined and incentives are being offered to consumers to clear their outstanding dues. “We have, for instance, waived off the surcharge for late payment by 90 per cent. We are giving consumers a hefty discount that way and making it easier for them to repay,” the official said. – The Hindu