Chandigarh Mayor Kuldeep Kumar has Requested an Immediate Cancellation of the 5% Water Charge

Chandigarh Mayor Kuldeep Kumar has Requested an Immediate Cancellation of the 5% Water Charge

Chandigarh administration is amidst confusion regarding the free water supply and water charge hike. Kuldeep Kumar against the water charge hike. 

Chandigarh mayor, Kuldeep Kumar wrote a letter to Home-cum-Local Bodies Secretary, Nitin Kumar Yadav, on Friday, requesting the cancellation of the proposed hike of 5% on water supply in Chandigarh. The charges would be enforced from April 1. 

Previously, Punjab Governor and Chandigarh Administrator Banwarilal Purohit had raised opposition against the implementation of free water supply in Chandigarh. He said it was impossible amidst the financial constraints on the Municipality of Chandigarh. 

However, the Mayor wants to halt the hike as it would be unfair to the residents of Chandigarh. Moreover, the MC had already approved the resolution of free water supply on March 11. The decision was made keeping in mind the demand of the residents of Chandigarh.

It was decided that Chandigarh would receive 20,000 litres of free water. Turning back from the decision and imposing a 5% charge would put a financial constraint on the residents. Kuldeep Kumar also raised his concern to the MC Commissioner Anindita Mitra through the letter. 

He wants an immediate suspension of the charge to prioritize the residents’ needs and fulfill what they desire. The free water supply was already approved by MC back in March but Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit did not approve the House decision. 

Chandigarh MC’s decision of free water supply of 20,000 litres has not yet been approved by the UT administration. On top of that, the authority has decided to charge 5% from April 1 which is not acceptable by the Mayor. 

Back in 2022, the Chandigarh administration increased the tax on water up to 150% which included all the private and commercial sectors of the city. Along with this, an increase in the tax by 5% from April 1, 2023, was also decided. This added a financial constraint on the consumers, further accelerating water bills.

The mayor, adding to his letter called it an ‘’undue burden’’ on the residents and felt the hike in charge against the public interest. After the letter, he later attended a press conference on Friday. He blamed the former BJP president Arun Sood for supporting the increase of water bills back in 2019. 

On one side Banwarilal Purohit had called it a promise that could not be fulfilled, on the other side Kuldeep Kumar called it a decision favouring the residents of Chandigarh. Amidst this confusion, lies the implementation of the 5% charge and its disapproval by the Mayor. 

Chandigarh is already grappling with financial constraints and providing free water to the residents will only increase the burden on the MC further. It has signed a loan agreement for 15 years regarding the 24×7 water project. This further marks the impossibility of fulfilling the demand for free water. In FY 2023-24 (till Feb 2024) the expenditure on water supply was Rs. 244.7 crore. Out of this only Rs. 138.58 was generated as revenue. It led to a total deficit of Rs. 106.12 crore. 



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