Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir administration has approved a hike of about 10 per cent in the water tariff in the Union Territory, where consumers have decried over 800 per cent increase in the usage charges during the last 10 years.
The J&K Assembly had in 2010 passed a bill allowing an increase of 10 per cent every year in water usage charges. Taj Mohiuddin was the then Public Health Engineering, Irrigation and Flood Control Minister in J&K.
Meanwhile, people from different parts of the valley, including Srinagar, have also expressed concern over non-availability of drinking water, saying that the administration should first upgrade the infrastructure and then hike the usage rates.
“We used to pay Rs 360 as water tariff for a year till 2011. Over the years the charged have increased and with this hike in the water tariff, the yearly charge has risen to Rs 3000 per year. Despite increase by over 800 per cent, the infrastructure remained the same as protests are being witnessed from different parts of the valley on daily basis,” Ghulam Nabi, a resident of Srinagar, said.
Similar, views were expressed by people from across the valley, which has abundant water resources available due to glaciers.
The Jammu and Kashmir Water Resources Regulatory Authority (J&KWRRA) in its order revised the water tariff for domestic as well as commercial consumers with effect from April 2021. “In terms of section 128 and section 145(2) of the J&K Water Resources (Regulation and Management) Act 2010, the Authority has decided to fix the water usage charges/tariff for different categories of water for the year 2021-22 effective from 01-04-2021,” the order read.
It said that the order shall remain valid till April 31, 2022. For domestic connection in urban areas, the water tariff has been set at Rs 1500 and Rs 2850 half yearly for pipe size ½ and 1/3 inches, respectively.
For domestic connection in other areas, the tariff has been fixed at Rs 500 and Rs 800 half yearly for ½ and ¾ inches.
Meanwhile, for commercial connection, the tariff has been fixed at Rs 5000 half yearly for ½ inch pipe. Similarly, water tariff for commercial lines with pipe size ¾, 1 and above 1 inches have been fixed at Rs 15,400; Rs 46,220 and Rs 77,000 per half year, respectively.
Officials said that these numbers add up to a hike of about 10 per cent in the water usage charges.
The J&KWRRA order has further rationalized the category of connections. “The domestic connections, include all residential houses, government health institutions and educational institutes,” the order said.
Organization and institution like orphanages, old-age homes, which are not for private gains, have also been placed in domestic category.
Residential premises, where commercial use like shops, barber shops, tea stalls and others, coexist, have been placed in Domestic-cum-Semi Commercial category. Connections which are not covered in domestic and semi-domestic cum commercial categories have been placed under commercial category. (UNI)