Sunday, April 19, 2009

BWSSB: Cess-shirker since 1976

BWSSB: Cess-shirker since 1976
Somebody is getting away with big-time non-payment of bills here. The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) has not paid water cess to the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) since 1976.

According to the provisions of the Cess Act 1976, the KSPCB is supposed to collect a cess for water that is used for different purposes in the state. The cess is fixed at 3 paise per litre for the water that is used for domestic purposes, 10 paise per litre for the water that is used for boilers and cooling purposes in the industries, 20 paise per litre for the water that gets polluted and is biodegradable and 30 paise per litre for the water that gets polluted and is not bio-degradable.

The KSPCB regional offices collect the cess from the users in their respective areas. All the 51 private companies that come under the KSPCB Bangalore West regional office have paid cess as per the norms but the different government agencies have not paid the cess and their dues have accumulated to crores of rupees. The BWSSB has not paid cess since the cess act came into force in 1976.

The BWSSB has to pay Rs 19.76 crore to KSPCB Bangalore West regional office alone. Out of the 19.76 crore that the BWSSB owes to KSPCB, only 8.5 crore is the cess and the remaining 11.26 crore is the accumulated interest and fines imposed by the KSPCB for not paying cess in time.

KSPCB Member Secretary M S Gouder said, “The BWSSB Chairman is also a member of KSPCB.

He has said that they will pay the cess as soon as possible. It is a government agency, they will pay it sooner or later.” BWSSB Chairman P B Ramamurthy said, “We are willing to pay the cess and we recently paid Rs 80 lakh as cess. The KSPCB is asking us to pay exorbitant interest and fines. We don’t want to pay that. We are contending against the KSPCB on this issue. We will go by the court’s decision on this issue.” Apart from the BWSSB, Chennapattana CMC has to pay Rs 17.78 lakh and Ramnagara TMC has to pay Rs 8.57 lakh as cess to the KSPCB.

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