High profile consumers in the list of water tariff defaulters
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Friday, 27 November 2009

By: Arjun Subedi

Kathmandu: General consumers are fined and their connections are cut if they do not clear their water bills in time but many high profile customers who were not affected by this rule earlier are to be penalized finally. According to Kathmandu Upatyaka Khanepani Limited (KUKL), there are thousands of such consumers who have not cleared their water bills since the company started to manage water supply in the Valley some 18 months ago.

“Most of the corporate houses and foreign commissions are among the defaulter customers who have not paid water tariff for a long time,” said Rameshwor Shrestha, spokesperson of the KUKL, adding, “We are preparing to cut off their water supply lines right away after Tihar. In addition, we are preparing to fix a board in front of their house.” Shrestha informed that the defaulter customers are in the list of special consumers who are having regular water supply at the expense of other customers.
“We have made this decision after the consumers who get regular water supply troubled us a lot,” said Shrestha to Nagarik. He informed that KUKL is yet to collect Rs. 1 billion tariff dues from 15 percent of its 65000 customers in the Valley who have not cleared their water bills. “General customers get water supply from 20mm pipes whereas these customers get water supply from 4 inch pipes,” said Shrestha adding, “Water tariff remains uncollected from them though they get 40 percent of the total water supply in the Kathmandu Valley.” KUKL informed that the consumers living in VIP areas like Durbar Marg, Lazimpat, Gyaneshwor, Kamalpokhari and Maharajgunj have not cleared their water bills.
Out of the 10 branches of the KUKL, highest tariff dues are in Kamalpokhari branch totaling about Rs. 10 million from its customers. The second highest tariff dues have to be collected from the customers of its Maharajgunj branch. Kantipur Hotel Durbar Marg alone has to pay Rs. 250000, Shankar Hotel Lazimpat Rs. 150000, Embassy of Russia Rs. 150000, Hotel Heritage Plaza Rs. 250000 and Gongabu Bus Park Rs. 3.4 million to KUKL as the water tariff. Similarly, former ministers, secretaries and high profile businessmen are among the tariff defaulters.
Though there is a rule that the customers who do not pay water tariff for more than a month will be disconnected from the supply line, KUKL has not been able to apply the rule on influential customers. Spokesperson Shrestha told that the KUKL has not been able to apply the rule on all the consumers due to political pressure. KUKL stated that it will collect the tariff dues at any cost as the company has become bankrupt due to huge amount of tariff dues caused by unnecessary political pressure. “We have formed an action committee recently,” said Shrestha, adding, “The committee will cut off the water supply lines of the defaulter customers.”

Source: Nagarik, September 18, 2009