//Minister's clarification on ADB loan

Minister's clarification on ADB loan

Government will give grant to corporations to repay loans’

K. Kutty Ahmed Kutty

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Local Self-Government Minister K. Kutty Ahmed Kutty on Tuesday said that metering public taps as part of the Kerala Sustainable Urban Development Programme would not mean collecting water charges from the public.

At a press conference here, he said his statement in the Assembly on this point was not reported in the correct sense by the media recently. The Asian Development Bank (ADB), which will finance the programme, has not set any condition that charges be levied on the water drawn from public taps.

In any case, it is impractical to levy such a charge on the general public, he said. (Mr. Kutty Ahamed Kutty had, while replying to a question in the Assembly last week, had said that, under this project, "the civic bodies would be free to fix water-meters on public taps so that water tariff can be levied.")

The Minister said that the five city corporations in the State, where this ADB-aided programme was proposed to be implemented, would not have to shoulder the burden of the loan repayment. The Government would provide a special grant to the civic bodies for that purpose. The amount would not be deducted from the Plan assistance due to the corporations. The civic bodies, however, would have to maintain and operate the public taps.

In a note circulated at the press conference, the Minister said the project, for which the ADB would lend $222.20 million (70 per cent of the total expenses), aimed at strengthening the basic civic amenities in the five corporations.