Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) [India], February 6 (ANI): Amid the hike in water tariff, Kerala Water Resources Minister Roshy Augustine said in the state assembly that the hike of Re 1 in water charges would not affect the people as they can afford it.
Answering the questions of opposition in the assembly, the minister said that one rupee has been increased for one litre of water under the Kerala State water works department and the people can easily afford it.
"Government has to meet many expenses like salary, pension, running contracts etc. Default in payment will affect the service given to the people. From the beginning itself, the department is depending on the amount collected from people for distributing treated water to meet its expenses. This increase is affordable and people don't have complaints about this," the minister said.
The minister also said that the government is giving 15,000 litres of water free of cost to a family each month. People can accept this hike and they can understand the availability of underground water and its usage.
"Opposition should stand with government to ensure good service to people. Today we don't have water to spend as we were spending in the past. The availability of underground water is decreasing. All should have the sense to understand that. So this is a good decision," the minister added.
The water charges were hiked on February 4, a day after the Kerala Budget was presented in the Legislative Assembly.
The hike took effect on Friday itself which was earlier likely to come into effect from April 1 as the Water Resources Minister Roshy Augustine said that the increase would be effective only after March.
From April the water charges will be calculated on the basis of the new tariff structure. The hike will be applicable to all categories of consumers. The exact increase will be issued by the Kerala State water works department through an official circular.
Notably, per the new charges, a family may have to pay an additional amount ranging from Rs 200 to Rs 400 a month under different slabs, making it three times the present amount. A four-member family uses an average of 15,000 to 20,000 litres of water a month.
The minimum tariff of Rs 22.05 for use of up to 5,000 litres a month will now go up to Rs 72.05. Even if no water is used, it would be considered as if 5,000 litres were used a month and the minimum charge should be paid.
The present monthly rate for every 1,000 litres above 5,000 litres is Rs 4.41. This will go up to Rs 14.41. (ANI)