Government schools in the City which impart education to thousands of children in Hyderabad, have turned defaulters of drinking water bills. This is not only creating problems for the HMWS&SB, the supplier of drinking water to over 8 lakh consumers, but also mounting its arrears. The official statistics of the board show that the water board has a total arrear of Rs.190 crore till date. A majority of the defaulters include various government departments and over 90 per cent of government schools.
“This is a difficult situation for us. Most of the government schools do not pay their monthly drinking water bills. This has resulted in piling up of their arrears and the amount ran into thousands of rupees,” said D Subbaramaiah, joint director of finance wing of HMWS&SB.
It was found that many of these schools are unable to pay the dues because of non-availability of funds. “We don’t have funds to pay these bills. This is where the delay starts,” K Surekha, head mistress of Government Girls High School, Nampally defended. Before Surekha took charge, the school had an accumulated arrear of `10,252. However, Surekha cleared the arrears as the school received funds under the Rajiv Vidya Mission Scheme (RVM). “This (RVM) is a boon for us. The government is sanctioning a specific amount towards payment of electricity and drinking water charges every month under the scheme,” she said.
The head master of Government High School, Punjagutta Rd No 1, which is now being run from a premises of Yellareddguda Government High School informs that the school has arrears of `4,000 when it comes to drinking water. “We are planning to pay the bills very soon,” he said. The payment of electricity and drinking water charges under RVM had begun about two years ago, giving a breather to many government school managements.
Demand for free supply
Many of these school authorities, raising an interesting point, asked the board to supply drinking water free of cost as they are also rendering a noble service by imparting education.
“Why should we pay money for drinking water? We are owned by the government and are doing a noble service. Can’t the board supply drinking water free of cost to us?” questioned Anuradha, principal of Government Junior College Aliya. She informed that they don’t have specific funds to pay utility bills.
The head master of the Government High School Punjagutta No 1, J Pitchaiah also expressed similar feelings. Although he said they would clear the dues soon, free supply would help, he added.