KOLHAPUR: The tussle between the Kolhapur Municipal Corporation (KMC) and the water resources department (WRD) seems to be escalating with the KMC maintaining its stand that it will not pay the penalty imposed by the department.
The department has slapped water lifting charges including pending dues of Rs 7.77 crore on the KMC, which it has rejected to pay. A meeting of the KMC and irrigation officials on Friday to discuss the issue was postponed due to non-availability of senior officers. The meeting is likely to be held next week.
The WRD has claimed that the water lifting charges increased since the KMC behaves irresponsibly despite being served several warning notices. Officials of the department also claimed that as per the state government's new rule pertaining to pollution control measures, the KMC's water lifting charges have doubled since December. The KMC has to pay the bill or make a plea before the state government for getting concession, WRD officials said.
"We have cleared our role several times. The KMC has not responded to our warnings and letters issued time to time. Hence, we are left with no option than to issue final notice to the civic body. We know it will inconvenience thousands of citizens if we take off the water connections. However, the KMC must act seriously on the issue," said Deepali Patil , assistant engineer of WRD's Panchganga river division.
According to the records available with the division, the KMC has paid only Rs 2.81 crore and the remaining dues have been pending for years.
The KMC, however, has said that the overall calculations of water lifting charges are wrong and the civic body will not pay unnecessary dues.
"We have clarified our stand that we will not pay any dues. The charges were calculated based on wrong information. We have demanded to cancel the dues. The WRD is billing for 240 million litres of water per day (MLD), whereas we are lifting 120 MLD only. Besides, since Shinganapur bandhara was constructed by the KMC, the water lifting charges should be 70 paise per 10,000 litres. However, the WRD is charging Rs 4.2 ," said Manish Pawar , hydraulic engineer, KMC.
As per the WRD order of November 12, 2013 , non-irrigation water users, including civic bodies, grampanchayats and industries would be penalized with double tariff if they fail to adopt pollution control measures. Now, the WRD is charging Rs 8.4 per 10,000 litres.
A senior WRD official said that only state government can cancel the charges. The KMC has to approach the chief minister for the same. "We cannot cancel such charges. There is only one way and that is to reach the WRD ministry. However, since the model code of conduct is in force, the government will not entertain the KMC at present," the official added.