Maharashtra has proposed to raise water cess for water bottling plants and breweries multifold. This may lead to hike in prices of beer, soft drinks and bottled water. The government has also considering a hike of 16%-20% cess on domestic water supplied to urban areas. The state has exempted rural areas ruled by gram panchayats.
Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory Authority (MWRRA) considering giving nod to the proposal. Thus, the new water tax rates for industries will range between Rs 40 to Rs 80 per 10,000 litres. Earlier, it was Rs 30 to Rs 60.
Apart from that, the breweries, soft drink and bottled water plants will have to disburse 5 to 6 times more than the tax industries. They have to pay Rs 200 to Rs 400 per 10,000 liters, from Rs 45 to Rs 90 earlier. Tax on domestic water supplies to urban areas will be increased by 20%. The existing rates are Re 1 to Rs 2 per 10,000 litre.
“The last revision was done in 2011. The hike proposed is against the inflation rate of 54% during this period. While proposing the hike, we have ensured that the citizens in rural areas and farmers do not get the pinch, while at the same time the we are also trying to crack the whip on industrial sector, which has been evading the cess,” an official from water resources department told HT.
“The government wanted to take the revenue from this cess to Rs 1,400 crore, but we have ensured that the machinery is in position to recover its operation and maintenance cost of the irrigation projects and supply mechanism,” said a source from MWRRA.