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Govt’s own 88 departments default on water fees

Rs 14.82 Cr outstanding against Govt, semi-Govt departments in Kashmir
05:34 AM Jul 09, 2024 IST | Syed Rizwan Geelani
govt’s own 88 departments default on water fees
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Srinagar, July 8: A staggering Rs 14.82 crore is outstanding as water supply charges against the 88 government and semi-government departments towards the Public Health Engineering (PHE) Department in Kashmir.

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This unpaid amount has accumulated over the past many years as the concerned government departments have delayed clearing dues of the water supply provided by the PHE Department.

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The information was provided in response to the Right to Information (RTI) query of M M Shuja, highlighting the long-standing issue of non-payment of bills by government departments.

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The outstanding dues include significant amounts from major departments including the School Education Department (SED) with Rs 2.23 crore, the Estates Department with Rs 1.87 crore, and the Health Department with Rs 1.86 crore.

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Other government departments which have not paid the outstanding amount towards the PHE Department include the Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Development Corporation (J&K TDC) with an outstanding of Rs 59 lakh; Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) with Rs 38 lakh; the Animal Husbandry Department, Kashmir, with Rs 26 lakh; the Urban Local Bodies Department with Rs 24 lakh; the Fire and Emergency Department with Rs 23 lakh; the Lower Jhelum Hydroelectric Power Project with Rs 20 lakh; the Irrigation and Flood Control (I&FC) Department with Rs 18 lakh; the Agriculture Department, Kashmir, with Rs 12.54 lakh; the Cable Car Corporation with Rs 11 lakh; the Telecommunication Department with Rs 10 lakh; the Waqf Board with Rs 6 lakh and the Sports Department with Rs 4 lakh.

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These government departments have failed to clear the outstanding bills at a time when the PHE Department is getting tough with the common consumers to clear their dues.

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An official from the PHE Department said that the government departments do not receive dedicated funds to clear their water bills, which results in the accumulation of huge outstanding amounts.

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“In the case of the Power Development Department (PDD), the government departments receive some funds to clear the power bills. However, for water supply, they do not get funds and that is why the outstanding amount is so huge,” the official said.

The information sought under the RTI has highlighted the government approach towards the PHE Department as the majority of the government departments have not cleared the dues over the last many years.

“With the non-payment of bills, the PHE Department has been left struggling. This has affected the operations and maintenance of the department,” an official said, wishing not to be named.

Chief Engineer PHE Department, Kashmir, Vivek Kohli told Greater Kashmir that the department has initiated the process to collect the outstanding amount from the government department.

“Once we send the bill to any department, the concerned department reconciles the amount while collecting details from their sub-offices. Once the figure will be reconciled, we will take up the matter with the administration,” Kohli said.

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