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August 24, 2019

Wasa proposes 100% hike in water tariff

Islamabad

August 24, 2019

Rawalpindi: The Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa) in its meeting of Board of Governors (BoG) has proposed at least 100 per cent increase in water tariff and 25 per cent in the rates of water being supplied to housing societies.

Credible sources told The News here Friday that the recently held BOG meeting held recently was off the view that increase in water tariff rate is the only solution to overcome financial crunch and meeting other expenditures. Over the years there has been immense increase in electricity charges for commercial users. From 16 per cent per unit, the Islamabad Electric Supply Company (Iesco) is now charging Rs22 per unit as power charges in electricity bills being issued to Wasa.

On the other hand, Wasa is receiving subsidy of Rs200 billion on annual basis since 2012 while this agency is bound to pay Rs650 million annually against electricity bills. Similarly, the charges of water tariff were raised sometime back in the year 2007. A domestic consumer is paying water tariff at an estimated amount of Rs98 on monthly basis. The previous governments in Punjab had objected over making increase in water rates in the best interest of the consumers which number is around 1.5 lakhs in total. While in the past, Wasa had not been receiving water tariff from housing societies despite the fact they were supplied water.

However, during an informal chat with this correspondent, the chairman of Wasa, Muhammad Arif Abbasi told that the summary of the BOGs meeting has been forwarded to the Punjab government for its review over our proposals particularly increase in water rates from Rs98 to Rs225 per month which according to him is essential to meet charges of expenditures and other spending on different projects. All depends upon the Punjab government to approve it or make any other decision. Similarly, he agreed that Wasa has also proposed 25 per cent raise in water charges being claimed now from Housing Societies. All Housing Societies were getting water but Wasa had not been receiving its charges from them which erupted financial problems in the water agency. Now over the last six to seven months we have started to claim water charges even from Housing Societies for providing water supply to them.

Though through many self-reliant resources, we have been able to make appropriate recoveries, however, now we feel there should be enhancement in water tariff as well.

Similarly, other officials of this department while talking on condition of anonymity termed raise in water tariff a mandatory to overcome financial crunch obtaining in the agency. The deficit of Wasa has touched Rs1.5 billion now compared to Rs1.2 billion last year. Moreover, the officials also stressed for increase in subsidy grant from Punjab government estimating only Rs200 million being allocated on this rate since year 2012. There should be at least increase by 100 per cent in subsidy grant as well. If these proposals are considered and approved by the Punjab government then we would be able to improve financial position of Wasa. In other case if proposals are not met then the situation would go out of hand further to meet expenses including payment of utility bills, meet annual expenditure and spending amount on maintenance and repairs, these officials bemoaned.

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