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Water tariff hike heckles consumers Print E-mail
Posted by Administrator   
Friday, 27 November 2009

ImageKathmandu: Kathmandu Upatyaka Khanepani Limited (KUKL), the Valley’s water utility, came under fire on Monday when consumers and stakeholders said the utility must increase the quantity and quality of drinking water supplied before it thinks of raising the tariffs of water usage. “If KUKL wants to increase the tariff, they must promise to supply enough drinking water with quality,” said Chirik Shova Tamrakar, a consumer.

The two sides were also involved in a small quarrel at the public hearing programme on Monday, which was organised by Water Tariff Re-evaluation Commission (WTRC). Some angry consumers led by Shakya Suren were involved in a verbal duel after officials tried to speak before consumers. “It’s a public hearing. Therefore, consumers should get a chance to speak. We are not here to listen to KUKL officials’ speech,” said Suren, who walked away from the programme with a few other consumers.
ImageThe public hearing was organised to discuss the proposed move by KUKL to raise water tariffs. The utility had last year proposed a hike in tariffs, which Water Tariff Fixation Committee had rejected. KUKL then asked for a reevaluation, following which WTRC, a high-level commission, was formed to deal with the issue. The commission conducted Monday’s public hearing as the initial phase of study. But consumers opposed any price hike, complaining that the utility’s services were just not good enough to justify the hike.
“The quality of service must be raised rather than just increasing the tariffs,” said Ratna Sansar Shrestha, a member of the commission. “Despite a rise in the Valley’s population, there has been no improvement in the water situation, despite KUKL receiving more funds than before.”
Rudra Gautam, managing director of KUKL, said that supplying adequate water to the Valley cannot be done in a day. “Consumers should be patient and understand that KUKL has been formed to supply adequate water. We are working on that,” he said. Gautam also said the hike in tariffs shouldn’t be made such a “big issue” as the “tariff has not been reviewed for five years.”
According to KUKL, the Capital needs at least 130 million litres of water per day. “We are working on the Pre-Melamchi project that includes utilizing the Valley’s water resources, repairing leakages as well as finding other alternatives,” said Gautam.

Source: The Kathmandu Post, November 10, 2009

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