Close on the heels of property tax exemption announced by the government, the demand grows for a similar gesture for water bill exemption in the GHMC limits as echoes explicitly come from people severely affected by recent floods.
“We have almost lost everything we have with us due to the recent flood. Already the lockdown has robbed us of our day to day business. At a time when we are not in a position to pay the rents, the floods have left us completely bereft from whatever wherewithal we have with us. The government should show similar commiseration towards poor people living in rented houses and are smarting under after the devastating calamities one after another,” said Tahseen Sultana, a resident of Bandlaguda.
“Poor people especially those who are living in rented houses and are severely affected with the recent floods are in bad need for a similar commiseration from the government. It is high time the government comes up with a similar gesture and should announce waving of water bill arrears given the situation arises out of recent floods,” said Shoukat Ali, a social activist.
Coincidently the last date of a time settlement OTS scheme, being initiated by the Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (HMWS&SB) for the repayment of arrears of water bill I came to an end today with the 15th November.
The government only last month has fixed 15th November as the last date to avail of the scheme by issuing GO No.567. This scheme was initially implemented for a period of 45 days from 01st August 2020 to till 15th September which was later extended till 31st October. This has received a good response as out of 5,40,690 defaulters 3,38,042 have been paid their arrears as of 26th October this year that has earned Rs.241.02 crores for HMWS&SB.
However, the 13th October floods that swamp the Hyderabad city leaves a trail of destruction wherein people especially in the Old City have lost whatever wherewithal they have with them. Despite witnessing the devastation, the HMWS&SB has extended the date of the scheme for further 15 days proclaiming that the board is allowing more time to the defaulters to repay their arrears for which the board will waive unpaid interest on the bill on payment of the principal amount.
“Sensing the enormity of the situation the government should take appropriate measures to lessen the burden on poor people by announcing waiving of water bills arrears that would surely come as a sigh of relief for scores of people who are suffering from tragedies one after another like coronavirus, lockdown with strict restrictions and subsequent floods that left them in complete bereavement,” Prof. Ameeruddin, a resident of Hussaini Alam.